The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done. “Idle dreaming is often of the essence of what we do,” wrote Thomas Pynchon in his essay on sloth. Archimedes’ “Eureka” in the bath, Newton’s apple, Jekyll & Hyde and the benzene ring: history is full of stories of inspirations that come in idle moments and dreams from Tim Kreider in “The Busy Trap”
It’s a Thursday morning and I am blurry with a post World Series hangover of sorts. For the many of you who are not from the United States, the World Series is an annual event crowning the baseball season. Among sports enthusiasts in the U.S. this is a Big Deal. And this year the team who came out shining is the Boston Red Sox. This is My Team. I am not a sports enthusiast, but one of the things I’ve done in recent years is to try to understand the excitement that baseball garners in this part of the world. Call it an anthropological study if you will. This team, whose home field is walking distance from where I live, was my maternal grandma’s favorite. I needed to understand something of the magic if I was to live here, just like I needed to understand the love of soccer in Egypt, or cricket in Pakistan. And a surprising thing has happened– one that has taught me some good lessons about living cross- culturally in my passport country. It turns out I like this game they call “baseball”! I’ll write more on that in a later post because I think there are some good lessons to be explored.
But for now I’m taking a break.
It turns out that my post from Tuesday on the security blanket of busy touched an unexpected nerve. The words “I’m so busy” are deeply ingrained in our vocabulary, more so our actions. My cousin, Judi, said this “It’s more than ingrained…it’s like it is revered, prized, valued.”
But beyond the words is how embedded this is in our psyche, in the fabric of who we are and the damage this does to our health, our creative abilities, and our friendships.
CS Lewis says “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.”
I will be honest — I have lacked inspiration for just about everything lately. I am doing mediocre work at my day job, I don’t feel I have much to share in person, and I am struggling to find inspiration in writing. I have glorified busy and I am reaping the fruits.
Perhaps you feel the same.
I think I need some idle moments. In idle moments I can step back and “see the whole” not just the fragmented parts. In idle moments I can gain wisdom and a heart for people. In idle moments I can hear God.
So I’m going to give you a bit of space from my writing, and me some necessary space from my own voice, and I am going to idle. I am going to have some idle moments and dreams!
How about you? Do you need time to be idle in the best possible way? To read and dream, to hear the voice of God?
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak
Blogger’s Note: Robynn’s post from Friday will be published as planned on Friday – and I will see you soon! Thank you so much for entering my world through reading and commenting. It is a gift.