Have you noticed most people ask the obligatory polite question, “How are you doing?” The answer almost sounds like a recording. Try, just for one day, to really listen when you ask how someone is and keep a mental tally. I guarantee the word busy will be somewhere in the response. By 6pm you’ll be asking strangers how they are doing just to see if they will say, “Busy.”

Busy is not always productive. Sometimes it’s even destructive but we, in some way, feel we’re valuable if we say we’re busy. It’s like a self validation of importance. I’ve always wanted to answer when someone asks how I’m doing with, “I’m really bored. Not much going on for me,” just to see the reaction I’d get.

The epidemic of Busy is much larger than the Swine Flu. We all have more to do than we have time for. Someone asked me a very uncomfortable question a couple of years ago. “Who sets and keeps your schedule?” I wished I had a personal assistant to blame the over crowded calendar on, but I don’t. It was a cold realization I have no one to blame but myself.

That year had been not only a jammed year, but one of change and loss. My brother’s funeral was in Florida on a Sunday. I flew home on Monday, met Jill in Texas on Wednesday to speak at an event on Thursday. I flew back home on Friday in time for kids and grandkids in for Labor Day. After winding up the weekend at a local restaurant, I wanted to make one quick stop at the outlet mall before going home.

It was shirt-soaking humid so Jim sat in the running car to keep it cool. I stopped in the bathroom first. As I was washing my hands I started feeling like I was having an out of body experience. I got outside and called Jim telling him I felt weird. I remember thinking I surely was having a heart attack, like my brother, and I was going to be with him and Jesus.

I came to with a man inches from my face asking who the president was. My first thought was, “I am really surprised Jesus wears glasses.” Then I heard Jim and saw a dozen other people crowded around me. They weren’t the disciples. I realized I was still in Branson.

Jim had called 911 and only in a small town would the EMT be someone I’d known since he was 12. Mark said, “Suzette, your vitals are fine. Jim told me about your last couple of weeks. I think you have all but run yourself into the ground.”

How embarrassing! After promising I’d go to bed, I was free to go home.

Why did it have to take that to get my attention? It worked. Yes, there are things to do, people to see and places to go. There always will be and we’ll always be busy. However, if you need to slow down and refuse to, God might use some interesting, sometimes humiliating, ways to do it for you.

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One response to “

  • Homespring Art

    Dear Suzette,
    I'm commenting in reference to your obligatory polite question, “How are you doing?” Recently, I visited a “not so close” friends shop and asked him politely, “How are you doing?” I was surprised when he said, “I'm sick.” I looked at him and noticed that he didn't look well, then I backed up a little. “Don't worry, it's nothing contagious,” he said. Then for the next half hour or longer we talked about his illness. There was no one else in his shop and he spoke candidly. When I left his shop I felt a new respect for him. His willingness to share his illness with me upgraded our “not so close” friendship to “friend”. I'll try and be more sincere the next time I ask someone, “How are you doing.”

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