You might hear someone say this today or perhaps it will be you that utters these unfortunate words. I’m busy and I have no time. Busy and no time.
Emily Dickinson beautifully and poignantly exposed the folly of this statements in her poem The Chariot. She wrote, “because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me; the carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.” I could not stop for death. I was busy and had not time, but in kindness and with graciousness our day is coming where it will be time to live no more.
Death has been the trouble of many minds, and a scurry of activity, and the illusion of being busy has often been the go to response in order not to think and avoid the inevitability of death.
I bring this up not because I wish to depress you or spin you into a flurry of anxious meditation, but rather to stop you and help you to realize that you are not busy and that indeed you have all the time you will ever need.
You’re free and your have time. Today. Right now. You can choose to be someone and do something. Yes, I know you have a job, and responsibilities and commitments. I am not implying you can just run away, get a beach blanket and umbrella and spend the rest of your day lounging on the beach without any care. But what I am saying is that in kindness death is going to stop and take you and I. We know this. We understand this. We cannot deny this, yet still, despite of that we continue to live lives not worth living. Lives busy with paperwork and meaningless task that disconnects us from one another. Busy with commitments that keep us away from our families and friends. Busy with torturous thoughts of debt and impending gloom and doom. We are busy with everything else, except the reality that will free us to become truly human, and seize an opportunity to live and matter.
Some people would argue that its not a fair deal, that we should have been given the opportunity to live forever and so we enter into nauseating debates about the existence of God, and who really knows and understands Him or Her, or it, but in all our flurry of excitement and need to be right, we forget to live. We forget to accept this life and this very moment, and in fact, this is all we need.
I believe there is something after death. I believe it because I have great hope and desire to reunite with people who I can no longer see and embrace. I carry this hope, but I live in the present. It is my duty and responsibility to create a life for others who are still present. A life that they will miss when I am gone. I want to live fully and completely so that they too desire to be one day reunited with me, wherever it is that we will all find ourselves.
You’re not busy and you have time. Not an infinite amount of time, but time enough for you to stop caring about things that don’t matter, arguing over things that will be forgotten, and begin to matter to someone, by doing something, and being someone who cares that they are alive.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Sandra Frey via unsplash.com