Monday, January 24, 2011

Slowing Down

I woke up today feeling below par and decided not to go out but to do the unthinkable: take a mid-morning nap.

As a result of pampering myself on a chilly morning and doing as little as possible, I now feel much better. I savor the words I read this morning from Finding Sanctuary by Christopher Jamison: People don't have to be as busy as they are.

We choose to buy into the consumer society that tells us to hurry up and earn more money so we can exhaust ourselves in time to take in other consumer products: sports, games, package tours, spas and other ways of relaxing that are really only temporary escapes from the rat race and provided by the very consumer culture that drives us to overwork.

Coincidentally, today is the feast of one of my favorite saints, Francis de Sales (died 1622), who wrote: "Never be in a hurry. Do everything quietly and in a calm manner. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset."

Francis lived in turbulent times and was caught up in the post-Reformation turmoil. He would have understood the pressures of our society Yet he had the disposition, the spirituality, and the good sense to know that being busy and rushing are not healthy to the body or the soul.

As for people who thrive on being busy and on multi-tasking, I can only say they are probably unhappy at some deep level: bored, anxious, more restless than the rest of us, eager to fill their time with activities so they don't reflect too deeply on their true selves and their relation to God in prayer.

Silence and solitude frighten such people. One day, they might be required to slow down and be quiet before it's too late.

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