The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Later we will dance, later we will play.



We will talk, perhaps later today.
We will read the mail and then we will play.
The lawn needs mowing and there are letters to write.
We will make sure, that we visit tonight.

The phone is ringing, texts are coming through.
People are needy, what can we do?
There will be time, perhaps later today.
Yes, later we will dance, later we will play.

There is always time for cultivating important relationships, . . . later. Right? That seems to be the way that we often think and live. You may have read the little booklet by Charles Hummel, The Tyranny of the Urgent. In that book/essay, Hummel argues that we often neglect truly important things (time with spouse and children come to mind) for urgent things that, comparatively speaking, are not that important. 

How often do you push spending time getting to know your spouse aside, for some other duty (important or not)? How often have you told your children, "I am too busy."  Of course, we cannot talk to our spouse at any time, nor can we constantly be available to play with our children. That is not the point. There are duties that must be attended to in order to survive. That truth is also an indicator of the challenge. We have to eat and drink in order to survive. We have to be employed in order to buy the supplies that we need to eat and drink. Without a job and without food, we die.  Relationship building is not necessary in the same way as food and drink. We can physically survive without healthy relationships (at least for a while). We cannot survive, for long, without food. C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves argues in that way, regarding friendship.

Life is about a lot more than mere survival. It is still "not good" for us to be alone. It is very possible to be alone even in the midst of a busy family and while surrounded by people.  Isolation does not need a cave in order to thrive. Isolation can be found in a packed stadium of screaming fans at a football game. Isolation can lurk in your heart while surrounded by family and friends. Marriage, in and of itself, does not cure loneliness. When the relationship is pushed aside because of overwhelming responsibilities, death slowly occurs. At first it may not be obvious. Sometimes in the midst of the full-plate-schedule, it is not even noticed.

People die of starvation very day. Their death is not a result of the absence of the necessities of life. Their death may not even put them beneath the cold dirt in a cemetery. Death comes when relationships are smothered by activity. 

Death comes when you stop the journey of knowing those closest to you.  Go to war against death by giving yourself to relationship building. From a foundation of knowing God, get to know your spouse, get to know your children, and get to know your friends.