Thursday, September 15, 2011

Words of Wisdom from The Daily Office - Part 2

Blogger's Note:  This writing dates from July 20, 2011. A family emergency in early August (culminating in my father's death) has me way behind in keeping the blog updated.  Though I succeeded in publishing the Musings almost weekly for my Wednesday evening rehearsals, I did not succeed in uploading them to the blog.  I will post one every few days until I am caught up.  [End of note.  On to the blog!]

One of the suggestions my Pastor Blake made for us as individual members of this body during his sabbatical was to secure a copy of Peter Scazzero’s The Daily Office and go through it as a personal devotion book. I have been pretty much on time so far, but it has taken me 2 weeks to get through week 5. I promised a few weeks ago to share some of the inspiration in my Musings I’m going back over previous weeks’ journal entries and finding it interesting … in light of how the past couple of weeks have been, consider the following from Eugene Peterson (The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction):
I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important. What better way than to be busy? The incredible hours, the crowded schedule, and the heavy demands of my time are proof to myself and to all who will notice – that I am important. If I go into a doctor’s office and find there is no one waiting, and I see through a half-open door the doctor reading a book, I wonder if he’s any good.
Such experiences affect me. I live in a society in which crowded schedules and harassed conditions are evidence of importance, so I develop a crowded schedule and harassed conditions. When others notice, they acknowledge my significance, and my vanity is fed.
I am busy because I am lazy. I let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself. It was a favorite theme of C. S. Lewis that only lazy people work hard. By lazily abdicating the essential work of deciding and directing, establishing values and setting goals, other people do it for us.
And from Parker Palmer (Let Your Life Speak):
When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless – a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for.
One sign that I am violating my own nature in the name of nobility is a condition called burnout. Though usually regarded as a result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess – the ultimate in giving too little!
Burnout is a state of emptiness, to be sure, but it does not result from giving all I have; it merely reveals the nothingness from which I was trying to give in the first place.
That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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