I heard this last week on CBC's The Current and I laughed out loud. Because in my experience, it's so true. Internet use (like what I'm doing right now) can suck up many, many hours if you let it. Some of it can be productive, but there are times when I have to force myself out of its swirling vortex so that I can actually accomplish something.
Some days, I can be bothered when I look back over the day and wonder if I was at all productive. Wasn't there more I was supposed to be doing with my gifts? More ways of reaching out beyond my walls? Especially when my kids were young, and my days consisted of diapers, nursing, and not much else, I longed for something measurable.
Mowing the lawn is measurable - I can see the improvement. So is cleaning, but that so quickly gets undone, so it's not quite as motivating. Some of the times when I feel happiest are when I've created something - a piece of writing, something sewn, a piece of artwork, or a gift. That feels incredibly productive but also life-giving because something of me went into it (not like cleaning or other chores - they don't quite make it on the creativity spectrum at all for me).
In yesterday's post, the poem by Mary Oliver exalts idleness. That watching, waiting, noticing, and being silent can be forms of prayer.
We've all heard that "idle hands are the devil's playground." Now I'm not so sure. Seems like idle minds (and bodies) are needed to pray and to really be present and attentive to God and to others around us.
I'm inspired by my grandma. Her productivity was in her work and her ability to create things of beauty. She would bake a pie, pick raspberries, weed the garden, hang out laundry, preserve some pickles, eat a hearty breakfast, wash, dry, put away dishes, and maybe even sew a little something - all by 8:30 am. It was humbling to see what she could accomplish, especially during my university years of sleeping in.
|an example of my grandma's productivity|
|the lawnmowing team|
"To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, . . . is to succumb to violence . . . The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace." - Thomas Merton
This quotation speaks to me, and I strive for a balance between productivity and idleness. I seek to focus - to let things go - so that I don't succumb to this violence of overactivity and overcommitment.
Wishing you a wonderfully productive and peacefully idle weekend!