Recently I wasn't too busy one week.
It had a strange effect on me.
You'd think I'd be glad of the opportunity to have some precious space in my life, not to have too much paperwork, too many emails, extra runs in the car, parents evening, two birthday cakes to bake, pastoral visits, a sermon to write.
But actually I felt rather empty and spare and...here's the rub...unimportant.
Since when did being busy become equated with being important?
It's a terribly insidious thing. We all talk as though we're busy and therefore important. You meet someone and say 'How are you?'
'Oh, you know, BUSY!' (i.e. I am a fully functioning human being. Are you?)
There's a subtle one-upmanship in conversation with other working people - the busier you are, the more needed you are; the more needed you are the better you feel about yourself. This is true of church 'professionals' too.
Curate 1: Hi, how you doing?
Curate 2: Been run off my feet.
Curate 1: Me too. There's not enough hours in the day.
Curate 2: I've had Morning Prayer, 2 assemblies, a meeting over lunch, a funeral, 59 emails and there's PCC tonight.
Curate 1: I know, it's mad. The phone started at 8 this morning. I haven't had a day of for 3 weeks.
Curate 2: Sunday I've got an 8 o'clock, a 10.30, a bring and share lunch, two private baptisms and of course Youth Group till 10pm.
Curate 1: How many Christmas services did you do?
Curate 2: Five in 24 hours.
Curate 1: I did 6.
And so it goes on - I exaggerate not.
I feel a bit sorry for the Almighty Creator. He clearly had no idea that 24 hours was hopelessly insufficient for all the (very important) work that needs doing. Maybe someone should tell him.
Meanwhile, when another not too busy week comes along, I'm going to sit around and do nothing (aka pray, reflect, remember, listen to the washing machine).... particularly when my children are in the house. That way I might even be properly available when they need someone who's not too busy to sympathise with exam stress, laugh at the latest Facebook joke or comment insightfully on Clone Wars.