Friday, October 14, 2011

Too Busy to Think

The old joke says the top three reasons to be a teacher are June, July, and August. What is hidden in that joke is the reality that the contents of those three months have to be crammed into the other nine – resulting in them flying by at break-neck speed, like the passing scenery on a bullet-train. And this is without additional committee and task-force meetings, planning sessions, newly mandated initiatives guaranteed to make everything better, spiffy technological improvements promising greater efficiency once the learning curve has been ascended, old technological improvements that don’t work as advertised – or at all, and the drama that is part of life on campus – any campus.

All of which to say, I have been too busy to think. Much less think about thinking. And that means decisions get made, things get said, stuff gets done – all without benefit of a whole lot of reflection or consideration. The deadlines loom large. The march of the calendar is more run than walk. And every once in a while, a momentary space – just enough to stick your head up and wonder where you are now. And then, duty calls – and off we go again.

During times like this, I kind of run on automatic pilot – doing what I know needs to be done, but not thinking a whole lot about it, or the doing of it, or much else for that matter. I look back on a week in which I know I stood in front of students and talked about somethings very important to me – hoping they would be important to them. I sat in meetings trying to remember why we were meeting and looking around for clues as to which meeting this was. I searched for my car in the parking lot remembering only where I had parked it two days ago.

Usually, there are markers – moments of wonder and delight that leave a mark. But during the busy-ness, I am flying by too fast even to notice them. And so, I look back over the blurred shapes, images, sounds, impressions and hope something good happened – that I didn’t get something completely wrong – that I didn’t say anything horribly offensive – that grace is sufficient even when I am not paying it the least bit of attention.

I suppose that is why spiritual disciplines have become so important to me. They are training me to be my best self when I am not thinking about it. Still a long way to go. But grace really is enough for the day. Even the ones to busy to notice.

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