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Busy, Busy, Busy

I miss the long days of late spring and summer of my childhood.  No doubt, I was reared in a time that compared to this generation, was a time “long, long ago” in a land “far, far away”.   Those of the Baby Boomer generation have often written or read what others have penned about “the good old days” of the 1950’s and early 60’s.  America was much more family oriented and still had a lot of purity and innocence.  Even those that were not Christian mostly honored the truths of Biblical principles as necessary for wholesome communities.  Children were safe playing anywhere.  Homes were open to the neighbors.  Police were more often called for assistance to help with children crossing busy streets after school than they were for malicious conduct of students.

One of the things that I remember was that on warm evenings when it was the last hour or so of sunlight, folks would sit on their front porches or in the their front yards.  As they talked and laughed together with family or neighbors, children played to squeeze the last childhood adventures out of the daylight before bath time and bed time arrived.  Neighbors truly knew each other, cared for each other, and fellowshipped like they were family.

Then we got “busy”.  Both spouses were working to provide for the family.  Children had more and more activities planned for them in sports, musical training, school and church events, as well as afterschool jobs as teens.  No one got home at the same time and when they did, it was because the entire family was due to be at an event together.  Houses stopped building “car ports” that were open to constructing garages with large doors to close in the family and close out the neighborhood.  Gated communities, secured condos, walled apartment complexes, and “No Solicitation” signs meant that folks no longer wanted to be contacted, visited, or “known” in many cases.  Now, a person measures the number of friends they have by what their Facebook tells them is the number of electronically connected people to their site.  How sad is that!

Busyness is no sign of spirituality.  It is not always the sign of a full life. In fact, it’s sometimes used by someone that is seeking to feel important and cover an empty life. 

Tim Kreider, in an article he wrote for The New York Times called “The Busy Trap” put it this way: “If you live in America in the 21st century, you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: ‘Busy!’ ‘So busy.’ ‘Crazy busy.’ It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: ‘That’s a good problem to have,’ or ‘Better than the opposite.’”

Then Kreider goes on to say, “Busyness serves as a kind of … hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day …. [We’re] busy because of [our] own ambition or drive or anxiety, because [we’re] addicted to busyness and dread what [we] might have to face in its absence.”  {NOTE: The text was put in bold print for my emphasis, not the author’s}.   (Tim Kreider, “The Busy Trap,” The New York Times, 6-30-12. From a sermon by C. Philip Green, Cure For Weariness, 8/17/2012).

Maybe we should remember the admonition of our Lord, “Be still and know that I am God.”