Saturday, September 22, 2012
Drop the Nets
Where does anyone have the time for all of this?
I know I have ten kids but I don't see anyone who isn't overtaxed, overworked and overwhelmed by all of modern living. I was in a restaurant yesterday (car was being fixed ergo we ate to kill time) and a older woman walked by me. Glancing around at all the people multi-tasking through their lunch, she said knowingly glancing down at my two toddlers seated and eating their macaroni and cheese, "This whole world is stressful. It's all hard."
How to disagree with a woman I don't know the name of when I understood the stress that could be felt permeating the place where people were supposed to be taking a break and enjoying the pleasure of eating and company. She didn't wait for a response but I wondered if part of the edge is the expectation that we should always be using every moment productively, that we have instant messages and emails and access leaves us less patient with actual people.
The walk back to get the car, it was hard not to notice that even walking has become a task that requires additional activity, as people talked on their phones, tapped on their machines or listened to podcasts. We are rapidly willingly becoming Borg, always connected, always electronically monitored, always keeping score, keeping track, surrendering minutes, hours, days of our life to things that are seemingly infinite and yet limited, and invisible and yet permanent, intimate, discoverable and unloving. Her statement kept resonating with me...what was the answer to her query. It wasn't to my mind to be found in politics or better organization or even dutiful hard work. The stress that she spoke of was something more like the air we now breathe. We know it is polluted. We do not know how to stop breathing it or how to make it otherwise.
I say this because yesterday, I got to come up for air, for real air, for 16 minutes. My son plays baseball and has Friday practice. It's about a mile and a half from our home so I drop him off and come back. I left a bit early for pick up and snuck into the 24/7 adoration chapel at our neighborhood Catholic church. For a crowded small room (16 people), it was more quiet and peaceful than a lunch time restaurant with taupe and teal coloring and Enya type music. The presence of the Holy filled more than good food.
Admittedly, I felt like the nosiest soul in the room as I struggled to quiet my nonstop distracted brain, even route prayer being deliberate, felt like an attempt to somehow change the purpose of coming, which was to be in the presence rather than to tell God anything. The sacred is what we need, which explains why the world so little values any hint of a reminder of it, quiet, stillness, fullness, community, miracles, prayer, or innocence. Everything else fell away for a few moments, and then I snapped back into lockstep with the time and the world, my phone alarm went off but I was honestly looking to check it before it went off, because I am an undisciplined soul and worried that I was not where I needed to be. The Martha took over and I whisked back into the parking lot and off to the pick up spot for my son.
Could you not stay? The spirit is willing, the flesh weak. I did not stay. Like a dieter who buys candy or a person on a budget who goes on a shopping binge, I know what my soul needs, I distract myself from that best choice with lots of glittering alternatives, all important, all flashing, all mattering. I do need to fix dinner. I do need to help with homework and housework and manage all these people's schedules. But sometimes the duty of it can be rather like a child holding her breath in hopes of getting things to work out her way. It is time to stop trying that method of affecting the world. There should be time for this, I should be able to give a bit more and not treat God or His presence like something to squeeze in or occasionally indulge in, like writing, waiting for inspiration to leads to less writing, so also, waiting for the Spirit to push me is akin to demanding God fix it for me, that my free will be taken out of the equation. This need to micromanage my life and my world is something to surrender, to freely give away for an hour.
This year's theme was and is, Be Still and Know I am Here. I am still struggling with even the first two words. How can one know the Sacred if one is too busy to hear/listen/see, how can one know the Holy if one is wilfully blind? How can one Know God if God comes last on the list if He even makes the list?
I sat there mulling over where all this thinking took me, and the humorist said, "See, this is why you don't sit down and think, because it always leads to more. And it's true. You can't love God and not then be tugged to do more, to seek to love more, to give more. You either don't/won't love, or you can't not give. Surrender Sherry.
How does anyone have time for this? How do we stop crowding every second with everything but the sacred? We have to Will it. We have to drop the nets and go.
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