A few months ago I read a post from an acquaintance about how busy busy busy they’d been. Doing this, doing that. No wonder we hadn’t seen them in ages. Plans were half made but never confirmed. Either something else always came up, or time just marched in and changed things in its own inimitable way. Plans juggled here and there eventually fell thru the cracks into an abyss and nothing was ever done.
We’re all guilty of that.
Many times we think our busy-ness is for all the right reasons. We had to volunteer at church for this or that. Or we made plans, but then this meeting came up and we felt guilty because even though we’d made those plans, this was important, too, and we couldn’t say no. We arranged to take our parents to dinner, but then someone called and asked us to help them with a project, so we re-scheduled our parents, hurting their feelings because they felt they weren’t as important as our friends. Or we “forgot” to discuss plans with our spouse and he/she had already made plans. “We’ll pick another night,” and it never happened.
Busy-ness. Or, busy-mess as I just accidentally typed. But it fits!
Remember the song “Cat’s in the Cradle”? That line “I’d love to if I can find the time.” The dad in the song never did, and because that’s how he was raised, neither did his son. It was always, “but we’ll get together soon. And we’re gonna have a good time then.”
We’re all busy with our lives. My old job took me away from home 11 hours a day, and I was always exhausted by the time I got home, and by the time the weekend came around I didn’t want to do anything. It wasn’t fair to me or my family. Fortunately that season has ended, and now I only have a short half hour commute each way, not to mention a job that doesn’t stress me out! But I’m still trying to catch up on the things I missed out on because of that situation. Some things fortunately waited patiently for me, and sadly, others didn’t.
Those are the things I miss the most. The ones I cannot recapture. The missed opportunities. We mean well. We say let’s do this or that, but we don’t always follow up. And then one day we realize people we really cared about are out of our lives. And we didn’t even realize it. Because we were all too busy.
That’s unfortunately how life is these days. We don’t make the time we need for ourselves, or for those closest to us, because we’re torn in so many directions by other things, and most times those other things really aren’t as important as we think they are.
Maybe the busy-ness is a substitute for something missing in our own lives. Maybe we think we’re only liked, only appreciated, only useful if we try to do everything everybody else wants us to do. But most of the time that thinking is at the expense of ourselves…and our friends and family. We can’t be everything for everybody all the time. Because then there’s nothing left for ourselves.
Nobody on their deathbed has ever said ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’
— Rabbi Harold Kushner
Think about it. What’s important to you? Who’s important to you? Now what are you going to do about it?
Is your busy-ness going to keep you running in several directions at once, or are you going to take the time to slow down and re-think your priorities? Before it’s too late.
Take time to smell the roses, and the gardenias. Walk in the rain with someone you love. Enjoy a quiet dinner with friends and laugh at each others’ jokes until your stomachs hurt. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and renew a fading friendship. If you’re lucky enough to still have your parents around, go visit them. Play a game of catch with your children or grandchildren. Be spontaneous instead of filling up your calendar weeks in advance, with no nights free.
Those meetings can wait. Someone else can coordinate that luncheon. The world won’t stop if you say “no” to one more committee.
But your world will begin to change. And you’ll wonder why you ever let all that busy-ness take over your life. And suddenly, you’ll have a life again.