For Memorial Day weekend, I am going to Canada with my daughter on our first Daddy-Daughter trip! I’m excited to spend a few days with my daughter. I am also anxious over the time I’ll be away from the office and work of the presbytery. I look at each day and think of all I could accomplish instead of how I might enjoy time with my daughter.

Since right before Easter, my schedule got a super boost. I can tell when the calendar and schedule is overwhelming. It’s when I’m in a Zoom meeting, while taking a phone call and writing an email at the same time. The other sign is when appointments are back-to-back-to-back, without time in between to think about what went before or what is coming after. Being busy is exhausting, but it is also a badge of worth and value in our society.

In his article “The Busy Trap” (New York Times, June 30, 2012), Tim Kreider writes that “People who talk about being busy are often boasting in disguise. They’re busy because of their own ambition or drive or anxiety, because they’re addicted to busyness and dread what they might have to face in its absence.” Kreider sounds a bit harsh, but he is making a point about busyness and responsibility. It reminds me of what I learned about dieting and eating. Everything I eat, I put in my own mouth! No one forces it upon me. The same can be said about my schedule.

To slow down, to be idle, goes against my internal parent and memories of childhood of being scolded if I were caught daydreaming. But for Kreider, “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice. . . The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” Idleness can be the source of vision and inspiration. Idleness can be productive.

Kreider makes one more statement about work and busyness. It affects how we are in relationships. He writes, “But I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. Life is too short to be busy.” Amen, Mr. Kreider! Amen!

Rev. Craig Howard