I'm In A Hurry (And I Don't Know Why)

This morning I sat looking at my schedule, and all of the tasks that I need to get done, meetings to attend, and all of the rest of it, and I sighed heavily before saying to no one in particular: "There are not enough hours in the day." 

At that point, for some reason, I heard a song playing in my head that I didn't expect. It was the song "I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" from the country group Alabama (remember them?)

Those guys were huge back in the early 1980s.  Even the pop stations were playing their songs on repeat. 

Here are the lyrics that were going through my head, just for reference: 

Oh, I hear a voice
That says I'm running behind
I better pick up my pace
It's a race and there ain't
No room for someone in second place

I'm in a hurry to get things done
I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die, but
I'm in a hurry and don't know why

Naturally, I became curious about why that particular song came to mind. Then I started thinking about how many of us are simply "getting through" the days of our lives without really "living through" them. 

In case you're wondering, I can just listen to a song without having some existential moment, but when a random Alabama tune pops into my head, that has to be Divine intervention.  

While pondering this, I remembered something I read from author John Koenig a few weeks ago.  He wrote about this very issue---the fact that most people spend far too much time trying to build a life but seldom live in it: 

Maybe the trouble is, you were never really "in it" to begin with. Maybe when you first started building the life you wanted, you put so much thought into what might happen that you started losing sight of what was happening.  As if you had known all along that this wasn't the world you expected.  A world so low and common that you tried to keep your distance, so you began floating somewhere above it, where nobody else could look down on this life you built. That is, nobody else but you. 

Maybe you find yourself in this very situation.  You are looking around you, wondering how you got where you happen to be.  You might even say, "This isn't the life I expected or wanted."

It could be that you spent so much time hurrying, building, moving from one task to the other, trying to do what you thought was expected of you that you never stopped to live the life you were creating. 

Jesus warned his disciples about this when he told them to stop worrying so much about getting ahead, having enough, and hurrying around for no good reason.  He urged them to stop and  "consider the lilies" and focus on the sparrows---to pause, breathe, and simply be.  

One of the many things that often gets lost when people reflect on Jesus' teachings is the fact that he was constantly urging his followers to be grounded in the now, to be present in their lives, and to slow down and look around them. 

Jesus inhabited his humanity more thoroughly than anyone around him.  He enjoyed eating with friends, attending parties, and quiet moments in prayer, and he was also fully aware of the needs of the people he encountered because he was willing to stop and be present with them. 

Perhaps those of us who spend so much time hurrying through the life we're building should slow down and follow Jesus' example. 

If we become more purposeful, attentive, and present in our lives, we might discover that what we thought we were building wasn't what we truly wanted all along.  

We might find that inhabiting our humanity and looking around for the signs and symbols of eternal life right here and now is what it means to truly live. 

May it be so for all of us.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forever. Amen.  


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