Taking Care of Busyness

Contrary to popular opinion, busyness is not next to godliness. Indeed, if there is one affliction that ails us all it is that of busyness. And it is perhaps never more so than during the holiday season that is upon us. As for me and mine, we are determined to not allow it to rob us of the peace that presents cannot give. Included here are some thoughts on taking care of busyness.

As James Gleick, the author of Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything, writes, “Our computers, our movies, our sex lives, our prayers—they all run faster now than ever before. And the more we fill our lives with time-saving devices and time-saving strategies, the more rushed we feel.”

Sue Monk Kidd echoes much the same sentiment in her writing: “We live in an age of acceleration, in an era so seduced by the instantaneous that we’re in grave danger of losing our ability to wait.” Or in the words of author and speaker Timothy Jones, “We are addicted to quickness.”

Sociologists have coined a word for such a lifestyle: hurrysickness. This condition is the result of living in constant overdrive. We cram each moment so full of tasks that we have no time to experience these events in any meaningful way. “The press of busyness is like a charm,” the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote.

Yet, the celebrated thinker and author Henry David Thoreau has one simple question for those of us left queasy from hurrysickness: “Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises?” In the end, we dilute the antidote when we hunger for success, yet starve our souls. As Archibald D. Hart said, “If history teaches us anything...it is that spiritual formation and hurriedness are not compatible companions.”