“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31)
We hurry too much, pure and simple. Our days are filled with things to do, people to meet, calls to make, emails to return, kids to drop off/pick up. Doesn’t it feel like sometimes we just live our lives behind schedule? So much unfinished “stuff.” We are behind, getting “behinder” and are always hurrying. What’s wrong with hurrying?
The evidence is in on that question: hurrying causes tension, high blood pressure, accidents, and robs us of the simple capacity to be in the moment. Being in the moment – a key part of the spiritual life. One spiritual writer described life in the perpetual state of hurrying as an obstacle to spiritual growth. Hurrying was described as “a form of violence exercised upon time,” an attempt, as it were, to make God’s time our own, our private property. What he and others suggest is that, in hurrying, we exercise a form of greed and gluttony.
Fr. Ron Rolheiser writes, “Too often we have a rather simplistic notion of greed and gluttony. We imagine greed, for example, as hoarding money and possessions, as being selfish, hard-hearted, like Scrooge in the Dicken’s Christmas tale. … For most of us, greed takes a different, more subtle form. More than money, we hoard experience. We try to drink in the world, all of it. We would like to travel to every place, see everything, feel every sensation, not miss out on anything. We constantly hurry what we’re doing so as to be available to do something else. We try to juggle too many things at the same time precisely because we want too many things. The possessions we really want are experience, knowledge, sensation, achievement, status. We’re greedy in a way Scrooge never was.” We are always in a hurry because we are forever restless to taste more of life – and too often the moment right before us passes away and is lost.
But there are other kinds of hurry that come from simple circumstance and duty. Almost everyone of us has too many things to do. Daily, we struggle to juggle the demands of relationships, family, work, school, church, child-care, shopping, attention to health, concern for appearance, house-work, preparing meals, rent and mortgage payments, car payments, commuting to and from work, bus schedules, unforeseen interruptions, illnesses, and countless other things that eat up more time than is seemingly available.
Between the greed for more time – and the everyday of life – are we attentive to our God who is always right before us. God is present to us. Are we present to God?
Before the summer ends, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”