I came across a couple articles the other day in my research. The topic was busyness, and its impact on our lives, and the lives of those proximate to us.
The first article, The Disease of Being Busy, hits at the heart of what it means to be “American.” This desire to check stuff off lists, make progress, get ahead, and keep up with the latest trends. But just because that’s how we operate, doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for us.
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?
This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and wellbeing. It saps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.
The next article, The Thief of Intimacy, Busyness, took the same theory and applied it directly to our close relationships.
We live in a culture that celebrates activity. We collapse our sense of who we are into what we do for a living. The public performance of busyness is how we demonstrate to one another that we are important. The more people see us as tired, exhausted, over-stretched, the more they think we must be somehow… indispensable. That we matter.
But what happens when we give in to this pace of life? Safi explains his struggle in being a father to his daughter:
I am a good baba, I know I am. I know it every time her beautiful face lights up when she sees me. I work hard. I try to be a good colleague, a good son, a good friend, a good partner, a good sibling. It’s not about how much I love her (“right up to the moon and back”). It’s about the time that she has my undivided attention. It’s about the quality of time in which I am wholeheartedly present. She, my love, is always present.
The struggle is real…
It’s hard for me to remember if I liked writing in elementary school, or even middle school for that matter. It wasn’t until high school that I can clearly remember the act of writing on purpose, for the fun of it. It probably began as a time-filler when I was bored. Classes weren’t the most exciting thing in the world so I’m sure I used it at first to keep me from falling asleep or getting into trouble during long lectures…
I recall two things actually: doodling and writing.
I’m not sure if I had the obligatory Trapper Keeper or if I just had a spiral notebook, but whatever it was, it was filled with drawings, designs, graffiti style font work, logos and short stories. Doodling came off the top of my head and often started with a few lines, curves or dots. From there an idea was sparked and the complete doodle emerged.
Writing, on the other hand, worked the opposite way. I would create a scene in my head and then try to describe it as intensely as possible on paper – yes loose leaf paper… A scene that stands out to me is one where I was in a neighborhood in the middle of the night trying to elude either the police or bad guys… Can’t remember the specifics, but I think I still have it in an old box somewhere. Would be hilarious to post a page or two from it just to see where I started…
From there writing stopped being fun and just became life as I knew it in college and grad school. Paper after paper on things I didn’t even care about. But there is a good chance this made me better at the craft. I learned various forms of writing, the ins and outs of citation and probably enhanced my library of useful words at the same time. I’ve never been the type to use $5 words in normal conversation, but when reading, there are few words I come across that I don’t know the meaning of (if that means anything…)
Upon graduating, my writing went from papers to clinical documentation – charting on patients/clients as a therapist in the mental health field. Oh the thousands of pages I probably wrote during this phase of my life. However, this life as a therapist led to my first complete manuscript. Controversy Theory was birthed out of my disillusionment with the field of counseling. I was a Christian working in a field where pop psychology was the only “allowed” form of clinical care. Sure you could hang your own shingle and offer “Christian counseling” to the masses, but most jobs required you to leave your beliefs at the door and only use tried and true clinical modalities.
Controversy Theory was me working through the process of merging my spiritual beliefs with my traditional clinical practice skills.
Around 2002, my creative side became activated again as the Internet grew and web design software became readily available. I purchased Macromedia Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks, and began the process of teaching myself basic web design. This led to volunteering at my church and eventually landed me a job there as the Web Director. Shortly thereafter I began a professional blog where I posted on my role, advancing technology and best practices in web design. One more phase of my life that I’m sure honed my skills as a writer…
And that brings us to 2012 when TH3 TRILOGY came to me in a dream one night. I pursued it hard for a few months, then life took over. It wasn’t until this year that I revived a desire to work on the book and see where it could lead.
So we’ll see…