(This was published on my personal blog, a place where I write – or try to, anyway – more regularly.)
Whoops… once again days go by before I post. Where do I begin? Not that I think that everyone (or anyone!) is hanging on my every word, but I do like to be faithful to this little blog and blogging community. There are many times a lack of posting indicates that I am in the midst of some busy-making, which in all honesty, I dislike. That said, I have my day job, and I do a bunch of other things on the side. Aside from needing the extra cash, I am given the gift of doing things that I really love.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I love about my day job, but the things I really love… teaching, public speaking, directing retreats, and even my marketing consulting get my blood flowing. It is all ministry oriented work, which is a great privilege. (For the record, I seriously dislike the use of the word “busy” as some red badge of courage!)
That said, I do find that I am often way too busy. I work all day and come home and have to prepare for a class or whatever. It gets me down sometimes, I know that I need to rest more. Yes, I need more sleep, but I also need more quiet time. Much. More. Quiet. Time. I am a huge extrovert, but I have great needs for solitary silence and intentional prayer. Sometimes I must just be quiet, and that means no blogging for me.
This past weekend I was not teaching, I was not preparing to teach, we had no real plans, and I found myself thinking about getting a bunch of blog posts started or finished. The drafts file mocks me of late, full of unfinished thoughts. On the other hand, there are the things that I would love to write about, but have yet to begin. Then there are a few book reviews that I would like to complete and publish. This seemed like the perfect weekend for doing all of this.
Alas, I chose to do nothing. Well, not really – doing nothing? Nothing doing! I did make a conscious choice to stay off the computer for awhile. What did I do? I read, I worked on some art and craft projects that I have long ignored. I puttered about, deciding to purge some old paperwork, other effluvia left over from… Christmas. This made the guest room was starting to look a little like a storage unit waiting for a reality show. It was time. I never really broke a sweat, but I did manage to recycle and donate a ton of things, and put the rest in some kind of order. It got me thinking about the great spiritual gifts of doing nothing and then doing something by eliminating clutter in our lives; this is a very Lenten theme.
So here I am, the drafts folder still bulging, well – as much as folder on my computer can “bulge.” Most of the things that I thought I would write about this Lent remain unwritten, but my heart feels lighter and a guest can now stay overnight if they show up.
And that’s where it hit me, not that all of this is not fundamentally obvious. Who and what am I keeping out with my busy-business and my clutter? The invitation to less is all around, particularly during Lent. I’m grateful that my idea of doing “nothing” translated into the relaxed manner in which I tossed and sorted. Especially as that is an activity typically fraught with anxiety for me. Usually you would find me about to “clean” with my jaw clenched like a pit bull on steroids, unable to let go, resulting in me “shutting the guest room door.” Again – who and what do I reject because of that behavior?
The practical and material elements of this are one thing, but what does it say about my soul? These unexpected Lenten whisperings have become more audible, thanks be to God. That’s where this third week of Lent finds me.
We are closer to Easter than to Ash Wednesday at this point, but before we rise, we have to die. I’m glad I filled the recycling container and the donation boxes, but I’m not sure I’m quite ready for the Cross. In reality, few of us are; that’s why we get to practice it over and over. My chance was revealed in the thought of doing nothing. May you find yours in whatever place God points you to.