The look of disdain they gave me cut right through my type A, organized brain. I knew I had failed them. The two younger cats circled the bowls in incredulous disbelief. They sniffed the 17 year old cat’s elderly, sensitive stomach, anti-hairball food that had been placed in their bowls. They eventually walked away in disgust. I had failed to realize that we had run out of their cat food. It took me three days to replace it. I was just too busy.
One day I expect to open up the paper and find the following obituary: Tammy Too Busy, beloved wife and mother, went reluctantly to be with our Lord on May 22, 2007. Tammy’s death came as a shock to the family since she was quite busy this past week and dying was apparently not scheduled in her Blackberry.
How many times have you heard it? “I’m so sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. I’ve been so busy.” “We’ve got to get together sometime. When things aren’t so busy.” “Work is really crazy right now-really busy.” There are days when being busy is absolutely necessary. There are days when being busy is out of our control. There are even days when it feels great to get so much done. But being too busy is so pervasive in our society today that it has become the norm. People purposely and often subconsciously fill their days so they won’t be viewed negatively. If you’re not busy you are lazy. If you aren’t multi-tasking you are simple minded. If you have a weekend free on your calendar then you must not have very many friends. If you’re not swamped with work then you must not have any ambition. If you have nothing to do then you are nothing.
We’ve become blind to the consequences of our too busy lifestyle. Our brains and souls are on fast forward. It’s hard to develop real, meaningful relationships when our lives are too busy. We merely go through the motions. Our families may function from day to day but they rarely thrive. There’s no time to develop the connections and nurturing that families need. Likewise, we rarely have the time to develop true friendships with our neighbors or co-workers. Most of the time we operate on an amicable acquaintance level but nothing deeper.
Just in the last week I’ve been too busy to read to my daughter the book we’ve been reading together. I was too busy to play chess with my son. I was too busy to hear the story about what happened to my husband at work. I was too busy to call my mother, to exercise or to make a healthy dinner. I was too busy to ask my friend how her father was responding to his chemotherapy. I was too busy to say hello to the teacher when I dropped the kids off at school. I was too busy to respond to the email from an old friend. I was too busy to give my neighbor anything more than a wave as I drove by. I was too busy to help the lady who dropped her groceries. I was even too busy to make sure the cats had food.
Being too busy forces me to settle for a life that falls short of what it could be. Being too busy causes me to sacrifice people and relationships and long term life goals. Sure, I might have more money, or a cleaner house or a few more pages done in my scrapbook. But in the end, is it worth what I am giving up? I recently read an obituary for a woman that died. She was 90. “Clara had a zest for life, a keen sense of humor and found good in everyone. She especially enjoyed spending time with her family. She loved to sit on the porch with a tall glass of lemonade and chat with family, friends and neighbors who would stop by. Clara was never too busy for the people in her life. A mentor to us all, she is irreplaceable.”
That’s the life I want. I’m going to learn from Clara. Now as soon as I research and buy porch furniture, pressure wash the porch, get rid of the bees nest, learn how to make the perfect pitcher of lemonade, make up a few pots of pretty flowers, buy plastic glasses and plates that won’t break if dropped on the porch, make a few cookies to serve and find a nice spring outfit to wear, you are all invited over to bond with me over lemonade on the porch. We'd better make it a few weeks from now though……it looks as if the next week or two I’m going to be a little too busy.
Check This Out!
It's Rock and Run Week at Slightly Exaggerated! Load these into your iPod and take off running. Great running music.
Nickelback-If Everyone Cared
Chris Cornell-You Know My Name
Night Ranger-Don't Tell Me You Love Me
Rob Thomas-This is How a Heart Breaks
Skid Row-18 and Life