Saturday, 30 March 2013
Busyness and the day the world changed
Today I am reflecting on giving up busyness for Lent. In fact today should be, for Christians, the least busy day of the whole Church year. Why? Well, with Good Friday over and Jesus in the tomb, we wait expectantly for resurrection joy. However, I predict that for many Christians today has been one of the busiest days in church - with flowers to arrange, brasses to clean, Easter gardens to prepare. No time to put your feet up ...just yet. What is busyness? That's something I have been trying to work out all of Lent, as I have tried desperately to give it up. I have concluded that it is not the absence of a full diary, or the avoidance of 14 hr days, or even the lack of a full 24 hr day off. Instead, it is a matter of heart and attitude. It is amazing how often I say 'I am so busy' or 'it's such a busy time'. Why? Usually because I want people to understand the pressure I am under and to have a bit of sympathy for the impossible task of being available to clergy and Churchwardens across a huge county, and a large diocese 24/7 for all sorts of advice and assistance. Yet, I enjoy being busy and I enjoy my work, so the challenge has been to embrace busyness in a new way. To not allow the sense of overwhelming, or martyr or heroine to take over. It has been good to enjoy in a positive way, the pauses when they happen, to make the most of the 'gifts' that come my way, be it a meal cooked for me, the invitation to join a 24 hr retreat with some other Archdeacons, the added 3 days in Jordan after the responsibilities of the Holyland pilgrimage. Time has not permitted me to read a deep Lent book, yet I found space to read a couple of books whilst in Israel, there has not been many free evenings yet I have enjoyed a couple at the theatre - including a great concert last week at The Stables with Hazel O'Connor. I have sat and eaten breakfast looking out at the garden, rather than at a computer screen, I have shared meals with friends and planned two holidays. Jesus found time to engage and retreat, to be with others and alone, and to be and do. I ended my Lenten reflection at Ludgershall yesterday, as we had reflected on the way we too let Christ down, with the words 'we wait to see whether we are worth him rising for'. The curse of busyness swamps our lives, and we need to make space for that resurrection, not just as we celebrate tomorrow, but in the spare moments and the pauses, no matter how brief, of our day to day lives, Lest we remain entombed by our own self importance and miss the Spirit as it passes by.