Letters to Jesus (Unhelpful Mindsets and Attitudes) -11
My life, as a whole, might be characterized by the phrase, ‘O.K. that’s done, what’s next?’ In comprehending any mortal existence as a series of things to get done and do, I remind myself of the mouse on the tread wheel – expending lots of energy and getting nowhere. Sometimes I rationalize the extensions of this modus operandi by being this way for the sake of others. I anticipate things they do or would want done, and do it for them. I am very comfortable operating like this, but I think it drives some people a little crazy and one of those, I think, is You.
The reason is that oftentimes You are, at best, an attachment to my motivation for so acting – a dim one. I say “at best” because with some effort and deliberation I can connect You to one task and then another (especially those I do for others) as a presence. Often, however, I don’t even make this effort. But when I do, it is good – yet it limps because You just get a small piece of whatever I’m doing.
Frank Bianco’s book about the Trappists, Voices of Silence, paints a picture of men who, instead of cultivating a modus operandi based on ‘O.K. that’s done, what’s next?’ cultivate one based on the theory of “less is more.” The more silent, still and empty I am of doing this or that, or looking for what’s next – even if it has to do with others rather than self – the closer I come to You, Your Presence and Your love. Instead of dimly attaching You to my busy-ness, I cease and desist from any such compulsions and stand in my best nothingness to meet You with an embrace.
I am not denying a proclivity toward the organization of the tasks of the day. I like order and that is my approach. But living out this modus operandi on a daily basis, often finds me indulging in a routine compulsiveness that is marked by‘O.K. that’s done, what’s next?’ It is the thoughtless habituation to these compulsions that makes me wonder about where it leaves You in my life.
It really seems, without rationalization, that a lot of it has to do with expectations – the expectations of others and my own expectations for myself. The notion of responsibility comes into play here and the forces created by expectations and responsibilities are great when taken seriously. Yet, there must be some liberation from being “hog-tied” by these concepts. It is a very complex adjustment the conscience must make to not become overly scrupulous about expectations and responsibilities and, at the same time, not become guilt- ridden about shirking what we know to be a good and responsible action.