Sunday, January 1, 2012


I think sometimes we humans like to make up ways in which we think we're particularly important. Just think about the things that come out of our mouths sometimes, or we at least think but don't always say.
How many times have you heard, or said, this: "Ah, I have so many emails piling up in my inbox."
Or this, friend: "how are you?" you: "busy. so busy."
My personal favorite "I have so much work to do."

Really? What in the world am I talking about? I have work to do? My job is to make sure I'm hanging out with people in my neighborhood. And cook them lousy chili when my roommate isn't around to cook real food.

I find myself caught up in thinking and feeling and being pressured to be busier than I actually need to be. None of us like feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or what we usually mean by the term "busy." Most of us would consider ourselves very busy, though. Not be choice, of course not, if I had it my way...

What would life look like? It seems that the American way is to stay so busy pretending to be busy that we never stop and realize that life doesn't have to be so busy and you can get just as much done. And if you don't get it all done, no one dies.

This fake "busy", and to be fair, often very legitimate and sometimes necessary busy, is associated with feeling important. We all want to feel a sense of importance, of accomplishment, like our life matters. If you're human, you probably chose your career, your marriage, your faith, your clothes, your dog, based on the fact that you care about what happens. This is good, we should care about our futures, we should live life trying to make the world better, or I should say by trying to reveal the good that is hidden beneath and in between all the darkness of this world.

Since when does this mean, though, that our lives our filled, minute by minute, hour by hour, with duties, with tasks, with goals being reached and emails being answered?

If there is one thing I know about how I want to live my life is that I want to live my life by living it. And yes, emails must be typed, data must be recorded, the dishes must be done and the trash has to be taken out. Actually, right now I prefer the latter two to the former two. It just feels better.

This afternoon I woke up late, threw together some soup, and a few friends from the neighborhood came over for small group and we talked for three hours. We talked about 2011, and we talked about 2012. We talked about how we need therapy, and I looked into the faces of each of these guys and realized how this moment with them, in my living room, was perfect. It was all very simple, and the house wasn't very clean.

I love this neighborhood because no one is ever too busy. No one is so preoccupied with work, or with the thought of work, that they can't come over on a Sunday night for some soup. No one thinks they are important either, which when you've been told you're not important your whole life, maybe that is when you should be called important. I think that is Jesus' job, and I think that is why He said the last will be first. Someday these guys will be important, they already are to the One that matters.

So while I fill my hours with seemingly important business and work, pretending I'm important, I'll receive my reward here on earth, and that is the only place I'll ever receive it. I'll get my gold star right here, right now. And it won't matter a bit.

Let me stress again that work is a necessary and beautiful part of life, like I said, I thoroughly enjoy taking that trash out to the curb, and when I get around to it, vacuuming every inch of the floors. I love writing emails to incredible people I've never even met in person who send me unimaginably thoughtful packages in the mail.

But I'm sorry I've been too busy, I'm sorry I've thought I'm too important. Cause the truth is, I'm not.


Life with Kaishon said...

Sometimes I don't know how to comment when I read your posts. This though, I can easily comment on. Amen! So good. So powerful. So perfect for 2012.

I am glad you could talk with those men today in the neighborhood. I think that they know they are important just because you offer them soup and share with them. You make them important.

Praying for them tonight as I go to sleep. Praying for those very important people in Chicago.

Love, Becky

Emma said...

Becky - Thank you for your prayers. You know, I was taking some personality tests this morning (one of my intern assignments is to dig into myself a little deeper - woo!) And I realized that not everyone is an idealist, necessarily, and so might not feel exactly how I do. Duh! I am an idealist to my very core. I just need to let Jesus shape and mold it.

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