Friday night was our “Wines around the World” fundraiser an the Newman Center. Thanks to all who helped – though the figures aren’t in, I think we did more than okay. What I noticed at one point on Friday was how easy it is for me to ‘do the busy work’ involved with the party. Maybe it is the shy part of me that comes out at big gatherings, but I was much more comfortable with helping get the food ready and hanging up coats than I was with mingling and hanging out with people. That is not a new pattern in my life. If you used the “Love Languages terminology”, I express love by acts of service, and probably receive it in affirmation. It is just how I am wired. I love to ‘do’ things for people as a way to express my love.
In that same vein of experience, I had my permanent deacon preach at all the masses at St. Ann this weekend. It was very hard on me. I wanted to be “doing more” and felt like I should be doing more. Then I remembered my experience at a trivia night on Saturday where I couldn’t ‘do much’ (cause I am so bad at trivia) and that is when I began to suspect that I border on being a do-aholic.
As the deacon continued talking about the ‘foundation/rock’ called prayer, the line from the gospel jumped back into my mind. Jesus says to those who were so busy ‘doing things – healing, calling his name, prophesying, driving out demons – all those activities that defined their love for Jesus – “I never knew you.”
“I never knew you”… Woof! Like the proverbial ton of bricks – it hit me – Jesus could have been talking directly to me. I who try to do so much, who keep so busy trying to love and serve him in my own love language – that of acts of service – was missing a huge cue on Jesus’ own love language: Jesus asks for “Quality time” from me. When was the last time that I just sat in Jesus’ presence – wasting time with him? I get so caught up in the doing, that even my vacation was ‘busy’. It was relaxing busy, but still busy – Snorkeling twice a day and reading two books. I find it difficult to stop.
“Hello. My name is Bill. And I am a do-aholic. I am not proud of that fact, but there it is.”
Don’t get me or Jesus wrong. There is a place for doing in the world. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that we concluded today, moves from be-attitudes to actions, from the interior disposition of the disciple to the exterior actions that flow from being people of salt and light. Yet I realize after this weekend that I have spent too much time on the doing and not enough time on the “knowing” of Jesus. And I run the danger of Jesus saying to me: “Bill, I never knew YOU. And that is what I want from you now. I want to know YOU. I want to love you. I want to be your best friend and confidant – NOT just in by your actions or even mine on the cross, but in quality time. But I keep myself so busy that there is no way or time for Jesus to get through to me.
“My name is Bill, my love language is “acts of service” and I have made those acts of service the ONLY way I express my relationship with Jesus. I AM a do-aholic.”
Perhaps that is not your case. But I suspect that if you examine YOUR love language, the way that you most like to express your love for others, you will find, as I did, that you have let that define YOUR relationship with Jesus, to the detriment of those other languages. Words of Affirmation, Quality time, Gifts, Acts of Service, or Touch – those are the venues, the love languages, through which we are invited to express our love for our savior, and allow him to express his love for us. On this ‘door step of Lent’ – I invite you to spend some time prior to Ash Wednesday looking at your love language ‘gone wrong’ – and then, fashion your disciplines of Lent around that. For me, that will be quiet, walking kind of praying – because that is the only way I’ll slow down enough to listen…
My name is Bill and I am a ‘do-aholic.’ But with God’s grace, I pray for the grace to let that go this Lent – and to set my life on the firm foundation of knowing my Lord more and more