As you know, the Chinese language is comprised of pictographs; and, according to Wayne Muller, the symbol for busy is composed of two characters, heart and killing (Sabbath, p. 3). Too much busyness for too long is deadly, because it starves, stresses, and, finally, breaks the heart. It isolates us from the nurture of family and friends, leaving us hungry for love. It prevents our experiencing the renewal which comes from rest and recreation. It keeps us on the move, unable to be still, and, therefore, unable to allow healing silence and restoring quiet to knit our frayed emotions back together.

Being busy is not the same thing as being effective or important or responsible. Sometimes being busy is just a kind of folly, a heart-killing kind of folly.

One point of leverage against frenetic busyness is to discern the difference between what really matters and what seems to matter—between the important and the urgent— and then to give ourselves only to the things that really count.

There is no shortcut to that kind of discernment. It comes from paying close attention to the voice of Jesus, from talking with wise friends who can help us see and hear what we would otherwise miss about how we are spending our time and energy, and from prayerfully sifting-through our experience, asking ourselves what drives and motivates us.