Several years ago, I sat at a table in the faculty dining room at Baylor University. At the table with me was a man who had served as the academic dean and eventually as the president of a seminary. He was now "semi-retired." Most weekends, he preached at a church somewhere in the country. I met him in a class that I was auditing. We went to lunch and I began asking him questions about what he was seeing in these churches. His reply?
"Jim, I am seeing many, many very tired people."
Wow. How interesting that this would be his immediate response. Yet, I think I know what he is talking about. I see them in our church as well. Many, many people who appear to be exhausted.
Some of them are like "John and Susan Bailey." You might have a difficult time getting to know them because it is very difficult to catch up with them. Their schedule doesn’t allow much time for friendships. Oh they have a few friends. However, they spend little time relaxing with these friends. Usually when they see one of their friends, one of them will shout, "Hey we need to have lunch sometime." But of course, no one follows through.
John Bailey belongs to a civic club, coaches a softball team, works out several times a week, teaches the high school Sunday School class and maintains a beautiful yard.
Besides her regular part-time job, Susan Bailey finds herself juggling an exhausting schedule. She is always creating new projects or volunteering to help someone else with theirs. She serves on committees and volunteers at her children’s school. If she is not taking her youngest to the dentist, she is driving her pre-teen to the store for supplies for a science project.
At first glance, it might appear that the Bailey family spends a lot of time together. Yet, when they are together they talk on the phone to other people, constantly check their e-mail on their phones, text their friends repeatedly and overall just seem very, very distracted. They don’t seem to be really focused on one another. They always seem — hurried.
Do you recognize this family? Do you see families who seem to be in constant motion? Do you know families who do not seem to be really listening to one another? Do you ever wonder if they are missing the experience of the present while they are anticipating the next event?