I am (slowly) re- reading through Dietrich von Hildebrand's Man and Woman. While I ride my exercise bike......Go figure!
Life is busy. It always is, I know, but now all our activities have started up, it is really, really getting busy. I almost cried in the car Sunday, on the way home from a meeting, as I mentally reviewed the coming week. I realized we were there - full-blown schedulitis! We only have one evening free each week. And like last year, ArtGuy and I will be doing the whole revolving door thing, where he comes home and I go out, or I go this way and he goes that, or we meet here and pass this kid to you and leave these with me and see you later baby!
We are fully in charge of our own schedule, and we can stop everything if we want (I swear! We can stop whenever we want!). We have reviewed our activities and our children's activities, and we are committed to these things for this year.
That aside.... We are busy. I am not a good "busy" person. I know women who are very high-energy. They go, go, go and then go some more. They do a million things all at once, and do them well. They thrive on it all. I wish I were like that. It would make my lifestyle much easier, or at least closer to what is in my head!
I am a low-energy parent. I need a daily dose of quiet, a daily shot of "alone" time - even if it is only ten minutes. Some days that does not happen.
Still - I am busy. My family is busy.
Back to von Hildebrand and the subject of love. Love. Glorious love. Love in its truest meaning and sense. Love is grounded in seeing in others the face of God, in hoping for and helping the beloved attain their highest ends, their best qualities. The value of love is not in what we are given, but what we give (although receiving love is a value, too).
Von Hildebrand makes the startling statement that "we should strive continually to be impressed with the greatness and seriousness of love and also with the realization that love is much deeper and more important than most professional activities." (most, not all).
He continues - "This should be noted especially in our day when work so often makes up the only serious side of life and when the quest for amusement and recreation stands in the way of everything else."
How often do we bend our mind to work, to what must be accomplished, to what will earn our bread and our place in this world? Not that work is bad. Work can be a real path to God and provide a real brotherhood with our fellow beings. Providing for our families is a good thing, too. But when this is the only, or most often only, time we dedicate our whole selves to a "serious" matter, we begin to disconnect from things of true importance.
All things in love. Serve others with love. I hear the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, of the Little Flower, of almost every great saint and holy person march through my mind with the regularity of a drum beat. Love, lovel, love.
Hildebrand follows this with: "But this is possible only if we rescue ourselves from the whirl of activity and the anticipation of the next moment's confusion which deprives us of any full awareness of the present. In other words, it can happen only if we provide a special place for contemplation in our lives."
Love, the true attainment of love, is not possible if we do not provide a "special place for contemplation in our lives", If we succumb to the "hurry-hurry" mentalilty, we lose.
Let's be real. I cannot think of one person who is NOT busy. The issue is not whether we are busy or not. The issue is do we make time for silence? Do we carve time out of our schedule for comteplation? Are we ever still and silent - on purpose?
Without this time for quietness, reflection, and yes, for awe, we lose a piece of who we are meant to be. Love - real love, becomes much harder to practice. I would even say that when we do little but hurry, and we do not take the time to "be", we cannot see others in their true value. Other people become more of a hindrance, a "something to be done next", and less of a person with whom I can interact and engage.