I went to a college that costs somewhere in the $60k range.  I’m not bragging… actually I kind of regret going to such an expensive college. I’m just trying to get to my point so quit letting me interrupt myself. Ok? Alright.

Where was I? Ahh yes… Well having said all of that, one would assume that I’d remember more things that I learned while attending the $60k dollar college than I actually do still remember. Somewhere along the way one of my really smart professors said this, “Sometimes it’s more accurate to describe God by what He is not rather than trying to pinpoint what He is.”  Come to think of it I may have just read that in a book or learned that lesson from a Peanuts cartoon, but replaced by another main subject. Either way this lesson rings true in my life by replacing God or Charlie Brown with dogs.

Okay, I’ve lost you maybe, but hang in there because defining dogs by what they are not is not the main point I’m trying to get across.

Dogs, like many mammals, aren’t generally thought to be difficult creatures to understand.  You know… the whole natural instincts thing makes them all pretty predictable in a controlled environment. I’m speaking about dogs, specifically my dog, in a very controlled environment which sadly never seems to change. My house. I could describe my dog by the things that she does and you’d get a good idea of what she’s like.

Eats.

Sleeps.

Licks her unmentionable areas.

Sniffs every telephone pole she passes.

Loves car rides.

Snuggles when she’s cold.

All of these things which my dog does regularly do paints a good picture. However, I got to thinking about an interesting trait about my dog that she is not, and it seems to do justice to all of her positive traits combined.

She is not busy nor does she have a sense of busy about her at any  given time in her life.

She gets pretty preoccupied with eating a bone or scarfing down her dinner, but she doesn’t seem to be busy in these moments.  She is just reacting to what is in front of her at the time or what is next. There’s not really a rhyme or reason to her days. One primary difference between dogs and humans (besides the obvious things like that we stand upright on two feet and most of us don’t have tails… I’ve heard that sometimes babies are born with tails or tail-like growths. That grosses me out honestly) is that humans get busy.

I often hear from people/the church/social commentators that one of the sins of our society and tricks of the Devil is to make us busy. I’ve always taken this lesson to heart and kind of took comfort in the fact that I don’t often feel busy like my friends seem to be busy.

I have a handful of friends who work at jobs that I’d die to have. They seem to be so busy through out their weeks that, get this, they don’t have time to call me back. Sometimes not for a week or month. Believe it or not, sometimes they don’t ever even get around to calling me back at all!

The absent return phone calls used to really hurt my feelings.

I’d think to myself, “Okay. So let me get this straight. These people don’t have time to call me back while driving between important meetings or to the bank?” Often these thoughts would be covered with a thick layer of pride in my ability to make time for my friends… most of the time… unless I forget or don’t want to call them back.  I never neglect to at least get back to somebody simply because I’m too busy though. I’m better than that for sure.

My friends aren’t only busy with their jobs.

I have a particular friend here in KC who I sort of met randomly. Turns out we have a lot in common, and now we hang out pretty regularly. He’s good for a laugh or what not . We get to hang out a lot too because we both like to blow our money on movies, clothes and lunch. It’s kind of a hobby of ours.

Well, as much as I hang out with this guy I’d always felt like there was a side to him that I didn’t know at all.  The reason was because I heard through the grapevine about an incident he was involved in, but I’d never heard about this incident from my friends own mouth.  The incident was significant and personal, but I felt like that I didn’t really know this friend because he had never opened up to me. Selfish I know.  Recently over coffee with this friend we got into a good conversation about life. He opened up to me about a lot changes and choices in his life right now and eventually mentioned the incident.

My friends who delay or never call me back don’t hate me.  I know this because they either do eventually call me back or the ones that never call me back I’ll see at a wedding or around the holidays where they greet me with a warm hug before we catch up on life in person.  These people just get busy with their lives doing jobs that they love, and spending time with other people who they greet with warm hugs and conversation.

My friend who never told me “the story” wasn’t trying to be vague or distance himself from me personally. Turns out that he seemed to be very busy spiritually for a while now. Working things through and bringing things to light. Nothing personal.

When I think about these people and their busy lives I can’t help but wonder how “busy” turned into such a profane word in my vocabulary. Not the only profane word for sure. My friend Britt has taught me worse words the time that he dislocated his shoulder on a climbing trip in Arkansas.  Those words would offend more people too.

Being busy isn’t the great sin in our society and churches. Maybe being busy with the wrong or insignificant things would be a bigger problem for another conversation. Being idle is the real sin. Letting love,productivity and deep relationships be paralyzed by our fear of overdoing things or stretching ourselves too thin.

I’d like whoever writes my obituary to have a pretty easy job. Let my life read clear whether I’m described by what I was or wasn’t. The good work I took part in, or by the unholy traits that I lacked.  Somebody would have their work cut out for them if they had to write about a long life of idleness and fear of being busy.  If not for God then I should at least find some good busy things to do for the sake of the person who writes my obituary one day. It’s only common courtesy.

-b

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