What do you do? What do you want to do? What do you want to be when you grow up? What will you do next? As a culture we are conditioned from a young age that we value productivity, accomplishment, doers. This is all good and well until we lose our center, until we can no longer find our calm, and our days become a blur instead of intentions. We are conditioned to define ourselves by our professions instead of by our character. I want us to take the time this week to consider how much of our days, our selves, our being is wrapped up in our doing?
“Now as they went on their way, he [Jesus] entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
Do we take time to slow down and let our business and busy-ness fall away? Or do we clutch to it to keep our mind from settling? Do we take the time when we feel rushed and hurried to stop even for a moment to connect to our breath–our way of being alive at our core? Or do we find that we have hurried through our day only to no longer see who is before us? Who is within us?
When Jesus was asked, “What do you do Lord?” He replied, “Come and see.” Jesus invited his friends into being with him, into relationship, into taking the time to witness, participate, and stay with him to learn. Do we invite others into our way of being? Are we open to seeing and living their way of being when invited? Do we make the time for this? As we consider our vocations, our way of being in the world, may we consider if it is a true way of being, or solely a source of doing? How do we strike this holy balance? St. Francis de Sales wisdom comes into play here, he said, “The soul which holds itself ready and open to do God’s will on any occasion, can do this even while sweeping the floor.” Again, it is a way of being while we are engaged in our doing.
The Sisters intentionally build time to be into their day with the punctuation of praying the offices. It keeps a balance and anchor
to their doing. As a mother, I often fall into the Martha-ness of my days, and long to be reminded on these days that it is Mary’s way that builds, keeps, and holds memories. My husband, Peter is great at this, the tasks can fall away in place of some fun. I foolishly need to be reminded often that the tasks fall away in a day or so, but the conversations, the being with another, lingers, lasts, holds steady. Now with our fourth baby on his/her way in April, I find my multi-tasking ways sloughing off because for some reason this pregnancy I can no longer hold two thoughts and do more than one thing well. As my frustration with this melts away, I recognize the gift, I am being invited into a deeper awareness of being. Instead of resistance may I embrace it, instead of doing may I learn at a deeper level how to be, and instead of clinging to old habits may I embrace this new invitation!