Canadian and American culture tends toward “doing” on the “doing/being continuum.” When things get tough, the tough get going. When a crisis comes along and we need to pivot, we take it in stride and work a little harder to accomplish the things that must be done, and the objectives we want to accomplish. On the surface there is nothing wrong with this and it has served our culture well over the last many years.
Of course, there is another side to this, and we have all become aware of what happens when the Lord “makes us lie down in green pastures.” In those times when we are forced to isolate, forced to stop the busy commute, forced to work and play in the same location, some of us have amped up the frenetic pace. I know many who must rise to the challenge of working a full-time job from home, learn the new platforms that allow this work, learn how to use the tools sent home by teachers to help the children learn and then communicate with the teacher, find new ways to keep in touch with family and friends, say yes or no to another drive-by birthday celebration, figure out how to keep a three-year-old occupied all day so that both parents can work from two make-shift home offices, keep the wi-fi network working at its peak to support two Zoom calls, a Disney movie, and two smart-phones so that the bandwidth doesn’t freeze up one of the apps and make us look like an idiot on the Zoom call with the boss. (I mean literally looking like an idiot with our features frozen in some odd expression and our hair sticking out from our slouch cap.)
But back to the Lord “making us lie down in green pastures,” there are days when we must rest. There are days when we cannot be as productive as we want to be. There are days when we fear that we will fall behind the flock of sheep and be left lying in yesterday’s green pastures. There are days when we are anxious that others might see us as not pulling our weight and that we might just miss that promotion or, in fact, be one of the first to be laid-off. There are days when we are forced to lie down in the green pasture of our home while the three-year-old bounces on our chest.
In a recent blog, Carson Pue relates a story of a bee in a greenhouse that frenetically bashes against the glass ceiling trying to find a way out. The bee is a worker bee. The bee works hard at getting out of the situation in which it finds itself. Despite the open door and vent, the poor little thing just keeps smashing against the glass until it is too exhausted to fly and must crawl along the frame of the vent. It is a revealing picture of our own levels of fatigue. Carson Pue goes on to speak of what we can do in these times of stress and the entire article is very helpful. Yet, I could not help but think that sometimes I just need to be the bee. There is a time for simply being rather than doing. It was not until the bee reached a point of simply being on the greenhouse frame that the solution to its plight arose. Then it was able to crawl beyond the inner frame, to the third dimension of the greenhouse, and find its way beyond the glass.
Where am I today? Am I being or doing? Am I seeking to be all I can be? Am I seeking to do all I can do? There is a time for both being and doing. Where am I, where are you, in the tension?