Leisure Is a Quality of Spirit

“Leisure is a quality of spirit, not a quantity of time.”
 — Eugene Peterson

Have you ever been in the presence of someone who you know has a packed schedule but who, when you’re with them, is utterly unhurried. 

Amidst their busy lives, they’re… 
Not busy. 

Yes, they’re active. There’s always movement in their lives. But they don’t hold the traits of a “busy person”. 

They actually carry an air of leisure about them. 

Being a “busy person” is a virtue in today’s world where s/he who hustles the hardest is the holiest. 

But the way I see it — being performatively busy (because why wouldn’t you show off your busyness?) means you’ve let go of what matters most. You’ve sacrificed the one thing that people truly need — your presence — in order to gain some form of status (internally, externally, or both) for being busy. 

I envy the leisurely, yet active, soul. 
This is truly a quality of spirit, 
not a quantity of time. 

My wife is the most active person I know. But she doesn’t wear her busyness on her sleeve. Her clients have no idea (but I have access to her calendar and my jaw drops every time I look at it). She’s amazingly present with each one of them. 

It’s amazing, really. 

Here’s a good space for a prayer…

God, take this busyness away. 
Give me control over my schedule.
Place it not into the hands of the needy. 
Imbue my busy soul with your unhurried 
and leisurely spirit.

Remind me that I have nothing to prove. 
Help me give myself fully
to the task at hand
and to who I’m with
at any given time. 

As hard as it is
for a people-pleaser like me to use,
empower me with the word ‘no’.
Help me deliver that word 
with a kind yet assertive tone
so that I can give my yesses
with no reservation.

Amen.