Not even a month into the new year, and every day is a race to complete an endless amount of to-dos. The house like a tree, fruiting in abundance stacks of dirty dishes and laundry, crumpled paper and pencil stubs, food wrappers and store receipts. Trash bag after trash bag. Got to see to believe. Floors scrubbed today, grimy the next. No matter how fast I work, hardly a dent in what still needs to be done. At work, task after task crossed off, yet more popping up like mushrooms after the rain. The deadlines get shorter and shorter, the furrow in the boss’ forehead, deeper and deeper.
I look around for hard surface. I need someplace to bang my head. I’ve only got a toe into the new year, and I’m already wheezing and gasping to keep up.
I can’t believe that Christmas was not even a month ago. Short weeks since the languishing within the deep wells of Yuletide peace; yet, something seems to be chasing away the Christmas spirits of peace and inner stills, into deep burrows, away from the busy path of the every day.
Something doesn’t want the Christmas spirit around.
It doesn’t want even traces of Bethlehem luminescence in any soul.
It doesn’t want the joy. And certainly not the yearning for the Light of peace, for that is a yearning that feeds our souls. And the world says the time for that is over.
The world-all-wrong would have us believe that living in post-Christmas reality is to put Bethlehem spirit back into its box, and fasten the lid shut. That there is a time for the Messiah Joy, and it is not now. Achievement gurus will breathe into us that to rush and crush, is to live. That you’re living right if you’re always in a mad rush, stumbling from school runs to grocery shopping to dentist visits and then home, to burn the curry you thought you’d make to get everyone’s spirits up; if you’re sleeping late, waking early week after week to get that project on the road; if you go skidding into church, in time to hear the priest say, The Mass has ended, go in peace; if all you can manage is prayer on the run, and even that is mostly, O God, please, please let the bus be there.
That’s life, shrugs the world. Accept it.
But I won’t. Because that is deception.
We are being exhorted to buy into the belief that we must accept and succumb to and uphold a life made mad by the incessant rush of deadlines and stress. But it is precisely when we bow in obeisance to the Tempter’s doctrine of Rush and Crush, that we snuff out the Bethlehem Luminescence. We instead welcome in a manacling darkness, which will slowly and stealthily stain and destroy the very essence of our lives ~ children, family, relationships, our sacrifices, our very souls, – until we’re too blind to see anymore, and everything dies.
The cramming of a decade of work into a year, the adrenalin rush of one super achievement after another, is a dark pull into the vortex of a life sans God, simply because there is no longer the time or space or stillness of spirit to seek Him and to listen out for Him. One simple ‘yes’ to the pull of the world precipitates us into another, and yet another, till we become slaves to a joyless, narcissistic life not willed by God.
When the pursuit of material goals takes over our life, tiring us out so much we can no longer think straight, when we get so caught up in shoring up financial security that charity causes us pain, when worries and fears blacken the road ahead that all we see is the now of hopelessness, when family and marriage has to always pay the price for success, then, we have unwittingly listened to the wrong voice. We have submitted to the authority of the Tempter who touts Rush and Crush as the way to live, when in fact, it is a concealed, nefarious shackling to a life of slavery.
Prematurely tired from just trying to cope, I think of the things that really matter – my God, kids and hubby and home. My faith life. All the little things not done but which must be done. I don’t want accomplishment, items ticked off lists, if it means forsaking quiet time. I think of the shallow prayers of the past week, and the nodding off through the night Rosaries. I realize there were too many prayers for my needs, and few for others. Everything was I I I the past weeks. My stress and struggle to cope had clouded my sense of charity. In my attempt to cope the way the world said I should, I had instead dimmed the true Luminescence of freeing truths that birth Life and love.
Why pay homage to all that seeks to enslave when we were never meant to be slaves but brethren and free?
I feel it deep within: there’s got to be a different way to live this life, and it must start sooner than later.
We are born children of the Light. We are born to joy and peace. For ourselves, and to shine others to the same wellspring. The joyful luminescence of Christian hope and peace is a light lit in us from the moment of our conception, and nothing must ever dim it. The dimming is a deception that is not always a full frontal attack; more often than not, it sneaks up on us.
The seductive lure of Tempter’s song is sly in its subterfuge, for it promises life even as it seeks to kill.