Friday, July 27, 2012

Doing nothing ... and the guilt which ensues

I've been away for a week at the beach ... officially doing nothing. OK, in truth I finished reading both of Khaled Hosseini's novels (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) and delved into C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters (even though I made a personal vow not to tackle anything deep and theological). I went to the beach, did quite a bit of kayaking (and my arms and back know it), watched some of the Olympic soccer matches, hung out with the kids and Beloved Husband.

Yes, I know at one level this is necessary to my well-being and I have been told I work too hard (although I dispute the latter statement). But I still feel a pang of guilt. Perhaps it's the old words of my great-grandmother ... something about idle hands being a tool of the devil. Some sort of Protestant work ethic meeting a strong sense of Catholic guilt (or Anglo-Catholic guilt in my case). I have trouble relaxing and just taking things in.

I've always been this way. My parents will tell you I was the kid who wouldn't go to bed because I was afraid I would miss something. I live with a sense of urgency just under the surface and always have. Urgency for what? I'm not always sure. Just a general sense that life is brief and it will slip by me all too soon. I know it in my bones ... but I don't know how to assuage it or shake the sense that I need to do something productive each and every waking moment.

Perhaps it is the seduction of significance that pulls at me or just the reality of the passing nature of all things and of everything that I am and all to which I am connected. I don't know ... I just know that when I try to rest, it does not come easily and that guilt is never too far behind. Lord have mercy!

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