I’m always busy. Just ask any of my pals. It’s a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because they are (mostly) good commitments and often in service of the Church. They bring me great joy. A curse because it keeps me so busy that often times I feel run down or stressed or over-stimulated thanks to these commitments.
I often struggle with my commitments because I miss out on other fun, social things that come up last minute … or I’d rather be a lazy bum and sit on the couch, drinking a beer and watching mind-numbing TV. But a commitment is a commitment.
This week I found myself running around more than usual. I had two church meetings and many preparations to make for a weekend filled with some work, baseball, football and a party at my place. These are all good things: I get to hang out with friends and build the community my heart so desires and I get to be in service to the Church through the work that needs to be done.
After daily Mass this morning, I was talking to a couple friends about the upcoming weekend and what I was up to. After telling one of them what my next 36 hours looks like, she said, wow, you’re busy. I received a similar reaction from a friend earlier this week when I told him about the upcoming weekend. He said “You don’t like quiet weekends do you?” That really made me take pause when I realized really just how busy I keep myself.
Do I keep myself busy because it’s what I’m being called to or do I keep myself so busy because I’m avoiding the inevitable introspection that comes from the quiet? Part of me thinks it’s a mix, with a heavy dose of the latter. And I know exactly what I’m avoiding.
A few weeks ago, I watched the movie Hugo. It was truly heartwarming and I enjoyed it. While watching the movie, I had some thoughts about how it greatly correlated with the spiritual life.
There are two things we desire:
1) To be loved. Unconditionally.
2) To know our greater purpose in life.
The main characters in the movie discuss and ponder what their purpose in life is. Hugo believes his is to fix machines as he is saddened when they are broken and therefore can’t fulfill their reason for existence. The girl, who is an orphan, says “I wonder what my purpose is. Maybe if I had known my parents, I’d know what it is.”
The movie made me think that discerning your vocation is challenging no matter your age or family circumstances. I couldn’t help but think, though, that the reference to her parents could also mean God the Father when applied to the spiritual life. Perhaps if she got to know God the Father, she could find her reason for existence. Her vocation.
I often think I keep myself busy to avoid discerning what my greater purpose in life is. I struggle with where I am now: Single, turning 29 in a couple weeks and often feeling unfulfilled as I adventure through life. Despite my knowing it is truly one of the deepest desires of my heart, I avoid it by filling my time with things that are good … but things that are not always allowing me to see the BIGGER picture for what God is calling me to because I am BUSY and not PRAYING or listening.
We’re all on this quest. This search. To fulfill what God is calling us to. But what am I doing to discern this?
Well, I’ve heard the call of God to slow down. Seriously this time. I’ve said it time and time again and I’ll make an effort for a couple days before I fall back into my old ways. Heck, I even went on a 3-day silent retreat in July in an effort to be more open to God speaking to me.
But this weekend, I can do something about it again. I am going to take time on this long, holiday weekend to pray. To offer myself to the Lord in silence and peace in order to hear His call. I’m going to find an hour to put away my iPhone, turn off my computer, TV and all other distractions and spend time with the God of the Universe, the One who loves me more than anything. My life depends on it.