Juggling vs. Abiding


It has been close to nine months now since I last contributed to this blog. I mentioned in January that I needed time off to have knee surgery, to heal and rebuild, and to just back off a bit from some weekly commitments. Truth be told, it was not physical rebuilding I needed most, but more of spiritual rebuilding, I think. I felt that I had fallen somewhat deeper into the busyness of life. I wanted to find my way deeper into the Center of life. I wanted to spend less time juggling and more time abiding. The last nine months have not gone exactly as planned. I set out to be like Mary, abiding at the foot of Christ, attentive to His voice, sensitive to His touch. I am afraid I have been more like Martha, not far from the foot of Christ, but so busy juggling and distracted to really hear His voice in the way I deeply desired. Intent as I was to be there, I found, as I often do, I was allured by busyness. Quickly, within even weeks, I was captivated by my quests, my dreams, my fears, my anxieties, my do-lists, and even by the things I truly feel God was calling me to do. That is the thing about busyness. It discriminates not against the secular or the sacred. A great deal of my activity has been for God, but even working for God can disconnect us from God. Thomas Merton talks about the sin of over-activity. He even asks for forgiveness for his sin of over-activity, because the reality is that over-activity and busyness, born out of a desire to serve self or to serve God, are one in the same. They both cut us off from the joyful act of abiding. A life of busyness and over-activity impede our inner capacity for The Peace that is beyond all understanding. Busyness and over-activity pull us away from the foot of Christ, from hearing His voice and feeling His touch. Tim Keller states, “The prince of darkness is creating busyness.” I believe this. I have felt this. Anything that takes my thoughts, my heart, my soul, my peace, from the lowly, humble Christ, the loving Center, must be dark. A focus away from the Light can only come from darkness and only lead to darkness. And it can happen in a moment, the busyness of thoughts about health and the future and the emails and the presentations and the blogs to write and the myriad of life’s commitments. But that is the thing. There must be only one real commitment. It is not juggling. It is abiding. It matters not whether it is in the name of business, or family, or health, or in the name of God, if I spend time pulled away from abiding in the Eternal Now, I am, as Thomas Merton says, “…killing the root of inner wisdom, which makes work fruitful.”


I am trying to put the juggling balls back in the bag now. I pray it bears richer fruit.




Please note. We are resuming the Sustain noonday service beginning this Thursday, September 10. The service will always be on Thursday promptly at noon in the Chapel of South Highland Presbyterian Church.  A short 30 minutes of prayer, music, and meditation. Now we are offering a light lunch following the service. Come and abide.

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