I just returned back to work today after a couple of days off. It was wonderful! It was what I guess they’re calling a “stay-cation”. I just stayed at home and sort of “piddled”. I got some (but not all) of the planting done, some (but not all) of the organizing done, some (but not all) of that “to do” list done, In my “but not all” times, I wandered through shops that I kept saying I wanted to visit, sat on the porch, and walked the dog. I bought an old concrete yard ornament that is a weather-beaten rabbit who has two (but not all!) of his ears. The antique dealer sold him to me for $18.00 and he’s in my front flower bed in front of the porch. His name is now Chester and he has a home (which is the reason that the dealer agreed to sell him so cheaply!). And I went and bought fresh (I mean REALLY fresh) fruits and vegetables from a neighborhood market and then made up things that I could do with them. And, to top it off, I lost weight! Maybe “but not all” is a good thing on several levels!
We are a busy people! To tell the truth, even my “stay-cation” was wrought with emails and calls that were “work related”. But they were important–so important, in fact, that I need to check emails and messages while I’m doing my self-prescribed “piddling”! So I was able set up some meetings and agreed to do another mentoring gig. Really? Am I THAT important? No, not at all. I think on some level I just don’t want to lag behind the world. I’m letting the world and it’s busyness lead my life. So what do you do?
I think you change the way you do things. You alter the route of your life. I was watching something on TV during my time off. (Truthfully, I don’t know what because I just had it on in the midst of the “piddling”. Again, I watched some (but not all)!) Anyway, their was a test question asked as to whether one can improve his or her memory more by memorizing something or by changing one’s route to work or some other place. Interestingly enough, the answer was by changing one’s route. I think it’s because it makes us look at things differently. It doesn’t mean that we don’t arrive at the place that we would have anyway; it just means that we got there a different way and probably paid more attention to what was along our path. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a BIG ritual person. That is not what gets us in trouble. It’s not the ritual of it. It’s the rote of it. Look up “rote”. One of the definitions is “from memory, without thought or meaning.” “Without thought or meaning”? That’s pretty scary.
You know, we’ve seen this theme before. Think about it. The Scriptures are big on wildernesses. There are lots of accounts of people just wandering around until they found where they were supposed to be. Maybe the point is not that they were lost but that they had found a different route! I think ritual connects and points us to God. But being open to changing the way that we walk may allow us to see the God who walks with us along the way.
So, here’s what I think. I don’t think iPhones are bad. I don’t think ritual is bad. I don’t think work and staying busy is bad. I don’t even think that one’s inability to say “no” once in awhile (but not all) is really all that bad. It’s the WAY we do it. Each of our lives is a work of art-in-process. Each step is a brushstroke filling the canvas with color and texture. And eventually, that bright white light that you see is the blending of all of those colors. White is the most brilliant color of all. Without color, without contrast, the world is dark.
So, how do we take care of busyness? Maybe it’s only a matter of loosening it up enough to follow a different route. Maybe some (but not all) busyness isn’t all that bad.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference