Each season offers opportunities to choose what we do with our energy along a spectrum of “doing” and “being.” We can engage in a constant and unrelenting level of activity and hectic doing, or we can do a full stop and be in our skin, reclaiming our bodies, time, and space. Most of us swing around from one extreme to the other with little thought of what we actually need or want.
Summer often is the season of DOING! We’re going places, visiting people, doing yard work, reading, eating, and cooking. We may be doing things we don’t ordinarily do the rest of the year, but we’re still doing. Based on our Protestant work ethic and value of productivity, the culture in this country has a strong ethic of being busy. Frankly, we like completing tasks, accomplishing goals, and soaking up the affirmation of our self-worth based on what we’ve done.
In the long run, this is not a healthy practice. We wear down our bodies and hearts, minds, and spirits. We struggle to maintain a relationship with ourselves and others.
This summer, I was forced into being for ten days. I abandoned my plans and lists due to contracting COVID in early July. I was down for the count, one with the couch, while my beloved husband was doing the same upstairs. The dogs were neglected, and we called the family for help.
I’ll be clear; I don’t “do” sick well. The few times I’m sick, I generally push through it. I’ve missed one Sunday in 24 years of ministry due to pneumonia and yet still wrote the sermon that someone else read. It takes a lot to knock me down and let go of my doing.
As I felt my body makes its demands, I slowly let my own words of wisdom settle into my tiny brain: Just BE. I needed to repeat it several times, reminding myself frequently, like training a puppy to pee outside, gently and persistently. I allowed myself to take on one long desired project (going through family photos), but only a couple of hours each day.
Having COVID may have saved my mental and spiritual health. Physically I bounced back, and by day 16, I completed a two-day 105-mile bike ride. Yes!!
My goal for the rest of my life: Just BE, at least once a day, because in the end, the better we are being, the better we are doing.
With love and prayers for BEING, Rev. Kate