Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Juggling

I have discovered that I really hate juggling. I am not talking about some circus clown tossing flaming puppies into the air. I do not really like circuses either, but that is a post for another day. I do not like to multitask, and just like the whole rest of the world, I stink at multitasking.

I realize that I am totally unable to hold a conversation and watch television or check email without saying "uh" and "mmhh" a lot. Those non commital statements can lead to terrible things like agreeing to watch a friend's illegal pet cobra over the weekend (and it is the cobra they do not like to keep in a cage because Connie the Cobra likes to hide and slither around the house). Frankly, I can barely walk and chew gum without tripping, why would I ever think I could text and drive? I am not the only one who stinks at multitasking.

I often find myself muttering under my breath when the clerk at the store is trying to ring up a customer and has to answer the phone as well. I have no clue how barristas can remember any order. Okay, the barrista example does not work because they almost always get my order right, but what I want to know is why? Why are we multitasking ourselves to death?

Lent is a strange time for multitasking because instead of adding one more thing to an overpiled plate, we are taking something off our plate. We are stripping away the excess to reveal what lies benethe. Perhaps that is why we multitask so much, we fear what we might find underneath all that busy work. Who will we be in the quiet?

I am sure that science or psychology or some stupid women's magazine backs me up on this. We are better when we do one thing at a time. We accomplish more. We are less stressed. Yet, if we are only doing one thing at a time, actually focusing, or heaven forbid, doing nothing, will we be enough? What will we have to show for ourselves?

Somehow the dizzying, stressful busyness gives us an identity, gives us worth. We get some sort of bragging rights: "I worked so hard," but did we actually accomplish anything meaningful? What happens when that identity is taken away?

Lent asks us these questions. Who are we in the quiet? What are we worth when we do not have money or gadgets or appointments, etc, to define us? On what or whom do we focus? What path do we travel or are our wheels just spinning?

Last Wednesday we were invited to a Holy Lent, a time for meditation, repentance, self denial, prayer and reflection. Maybe the most difficult part is the reflection, really looking at ourselves and our lives. Is this how we want to live? Who or what are we living for if this is how we live?

I invite you to a Holy Lent with me. Let's do one thing at a time. Let's stop and listen in the quiet. Let's look into that mirror and see who we are, where we are. Let's put down our blackberries and take back our lives.

3 comments:

  1. "Let's do one thing at a time."

    I try, but people keep interrupting me.

    I don't like multitasking either. In fact, I simply can't do it. I have to focus on one thing at a time. "She can't walk and chew gum," would be an accurate description of me.

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  2. A good question, "Who are we if we are not what we're doing?" Too many of us get our identities from our jobs and not from our being. That's why some people do not do well in retirement. Stop. Listen. How long can you stop and do nothing?

    Perhaps we should take 5 minutes each day to do nothing but listen to our world and learn from the solitude and inactivity.

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  3. I like lizbeth's idea! My parish is hosting a wonderful slate of activities on Wednesday evenings during Lent that I know will enrich my experience of Lent, but even before reading this posting, I decided not to participate, because my first reaction was that it would be one more thing to have to do in my already busy life.

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