School is starting – and all of a sudden our schedules are jam-packed:
Sports, select sports, band, private lessons, dance, cheer, homework, martial arts, academic clubs, groups just for fun, jobs – did I leave anything out? Kids, parents, grandparents, relatives, friends (did I leave anyone out?) are all running around at a frenzied pace trying to make practices, performances, competitions, tournaments, and deadlines. Both young people and adults seem to be caught on this hamster wheel of endless activity.
There is a short passage called “The Spirit of the Age” from the book Walking With God by John Eldredge that I believe sheds an amazing light on this topic:
I don’t live. I get things done. My life is entirely task oriented. I wake and pray, because if I don’t pray, I get taken out by warfare. It’s not leisurely prayer; it’s purposeful prayer. I head to the office and start replying to emails. Projects that began with a good idea are now breathing down my neck because there are deadlines to these things, and what began as a creative outburst is now just Get It Done. I come home exhausted, fried . . . Sometimes I’ll try to get a run in – but did you notice the phrase “get a run it?” Another get it done. Even though I do enjoy running, it has become hard to fit it in. Task, not living.
Every age has a certain spirit or mood or climate to it. Ours is busyness. We’re all running like lemmings from sunup to way past sundown. What’s with all the energy drinks? . . . Not to mention the coffee houses on every corner. Why do we need all this caffeine? And why do so many of us now need sleep aids to rest at night? Our grandparents didn’t. We thought the age of technology would make life simpler, easier. It has got us by the throat. We need to operate at the speed of computers. Seriously, I’m irritated that my e-mail takes four seconds to boot up now, when it used to take ten. I realize I’m not the first to put this down on paper. People have been making this observation for a long time. We are running around like ants do when you kick in their hill, like rats on a wheel, like Carroll’s Mad Hatter.
And for some reason, we either believe we can’t stop or we don’t want to. . . . Like the prodigal son, we are not going to do a thing about this until we wake one day to realize we are sick of it and we want a different life (pg. 115 – 116).
I don’t know how to fix it, I’m caught up in it myself. However, there seems to be a subtle shift toward many of us wanting to simplify our lives. That might explain the success of shows like Tiny Houses, or the growing membership ranks of the Minimalist movement.
In reflection, it seems hope for the future being better – is connected with things from the past that were a regular part of our lifestyles. Try one or all of these to slow down just a bit:
- Take a walk, jog, or bike ride.
- Intentionally turn of electronic devices for a few hours.
- Engage in stories and discussion around a table or in lawn chairs.
- Sit under shelter and watch a rainstorm (when it finally happens).
- Try sitting still in silence by yourself for 5, 10, or 15 minutes – feels impossible!
- Play a classic board game – it’s amazing how competitive spirits and smack talking show up.
- Replace TV and the Internet with reading a hardback or paperback book.
These suggestions won’t fix everything, but it is a start to moving toward a potential new spirit of the next age . . . Simplicity . . . 🙂