Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 31, 2004
Hurrying can hamper life's sacredness
By FR. RON ROLHEISER, omi
"Our lives often seem like overpacked suitcases bursting at the seams."
- Henri Nouwen
The possessions we really want are experience, knowledge, sensation, achievement, status. We're greedy in a way Scrooge never was. Gluttony works essentially the same. For most of us, the urge to consume is not so much about food or drink, but about experience. We are always in a hurry because we are forever restless to taste more of life.
It's this kind of hurry, subtly driven by greed and gluttony, that can be a form of violence exercised upon time and can constitute an obstacle to holiness.
But there are other kinds of hurry that come from simple circumstance and duty. Daily, we struggle to juggle the demands of relationships, family, work, school, church, child-care, shopping, attention to health, concern for appearance, housework, preparing meals, rent and mortgage payments, car payments, commuting to and from work, bus schedules, unwanted accidents, unforeseen interruptions, illnesses, and countless other things that eat up more time than is seemingly available.
The Gospels say that even Jesus was so busy at times that he didn't have time to eat. That's not surprising. Robert Moore once said the mark of a true adult is that "he or she does what it takes."
Sometimes that means being stretched to the limit, being over-extended, having to juggle too many things all at once, driving faster than we'd like, working to the point of exhaustion, even as there is still more that we should ideally be doing.
There's a hurriedness that doesn't come from greed or gluttony and that can't be dismissed with the simplistic judgment: "That's what she gets for trying to have it all!" Sometimes we have to hurry just to make do and simple circumstance and duty eat up every available minute of our time.
Still we have to be careful not to rationalize. God did not make a mistake in creating time. God made enough of it, and when we can't find enough time and, as the Psalmist says, find ourselves getting up ever earlier and going to bed ever later because we have too much to do, we need to see this as a sign that sooner or later we had better make some changes. When we hurry too much and for too long we end up doing violence to time, to ourselves, and to our blood pressure.
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