"Hi, how are you?"
Of course, there are many ways to answer this question, but those two seem to be the most common. I tense up when people ask me what I've been doing during the day. I get nervous: have I done enough? If I just say I'm busy, then at least I can cover up my insecurity and uncertainty.
I started to really chew on the idea of being too busy, after reading an archived opinion article from the New York Times. My friend posted a link of Facebook (I apparently had time for that) and the author's argument definitely rang true.
"Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day," (Tim Kreider, The 'Busy' Trap June 30, 2012, nytimes.com).
I've allowed myself to believe that I'm so busy, that I don't have the time for people. The other weekend I had a young adult come to me at the YWAM base and start up a simple conversation. I quickly realized she wanted to chat a bit longer. I knew this young woman was one week away from leaving our base after her six month training course, but even then, all I could focus on were the tasks I needed to do. My focus was in the wrong place. I don't want to be too busy for people. I want to make time when someone wants to talk or spend time with me.
A simple place to start is in the words I speak over my daily life. Good or busy don't allow other people to get to know me any deeper. They're 'take-it-at-face-value' statements. So, just as I did years ago, when I struck 'good' from my greeting vocabulary, I now feel convinced that 'busy' must go the way of the VCR.
'Busy' as a fall back response, needs to become obsolete, unless I actually mean it. There are legitimate times when I am busy. But even using last week as a reference, I had a lot of things to do, but I also found time to do other things. I found time to watch movie with a friend, Skyped someone from Canada (during work hours I might add), and had time to go on a five-hour detour, adventure with a colleague because of an overturned garbage truck.
I want people to know that they matter. That I can never be too busy for them. So that is my commitment. I will make time. I will let other get more than just surface answers. I will never be too busy.
Lisa Goetze grew up near Toronto, Canada, where she worked as a writer for two national news broadcasts. She now serves full-time at Youth With A Mission in Brisbane.
Lisa Goetze's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/lisa-goetze.html