Dear Family of St John’s
Have you seen the price of eggs lately? Well, Calvin, of Calvin & Hobbes comic-strip-fame, written by Bill Waterson, clearly doesn’t buy his own eggs. I saw two of the Calvin & Hobbes comic strips this week that feature eggs.
In the first one, the dialogue goes like this…
Calvin: “Want to see me juggle? I can keep a dozen eggs in the air at once!”
(All the eggs that are in the air drop to the ground, breaking on Calvin’s head)
Calvin: “Notice I didn’t say I could do it very long.”
The second strip says…
Hobbes: “You’re going to juggle eggs?”
Calvin: “It’s a metaphor for life, Hobbes. Each egg represents one of life’s concerns and the goal is to give each the appropriate amount of individual attention while simultaneously watching and guiding all the others. Life is about balance and staying quick and alert as everything threatens to spin out of control!”
(Drops all the eggs)
Hobbes: “And sometimes we make a big mess of things.”
Calvin: “But the important thing is persistence.”
Life often feels like we’re juggling a dozen eggs all at once. We joke about how many things we have on our to-do list. I’m quite proud of my ability to multi-task. But, why? I’m not sure that multi-tasking is always a good thing. Perhaps my husband, who can only do one thing a time (he tells me this repeatedly!) is actually doing things the right way?
And, the multiple to-do lists don’t just relate to our jobs, or our families. We have lists of things that need doing for every facet of our lives. The demands can feel quite overwhelming.
One particular time-period comes to mind. In December 2021 I had to arrange: moving parishes from St Hugh’s to St John’s with everything that this entails – office moves, saying good bye to very dear parishioners, slowly getting to know new people, and preparing to hit the ground running when I started in January 2022; packing up our home in Walmer and moving to Summerstrand; planning my son’s 21st birthday party within Covid restrictions; preparing for all the usual services that went into Advent & Christmas, within Covid restrictions; as well as Christmas with all the family.
I had a huge, very detailed, colour-coded spreadsheet that was updated daily and shared with the family via the fridge door. They didn’t pay much attention to my digital versions. It had categories and columns for every ‘egg’ that I was juggling, with very specific details about what had to happen in various time slots over a three-week period.
There were days where it felt that I was adding more to the list than I was crossing off. We survived the moves and the goodbyes. And then, my almost-21-year-old got Covid, and we all had to isolate. Fortunately he wasn’t particularly ill, and we all had a chance to recover from the chaos for a few days.
Life can feel overwhelming. We might feel that we have way too many eggs up in the air at any given time. And, perhaps our juggling skills are a little like Calvin’s – not very good.
I don’t think God needs us to be good jugglers though. He tells us that we need rest. Isn’t that what the sabbath is for? How do we observe that sabbath today?
Look at the example of Mary & Martha. The one sits and listens and the other runs around serving. Sitting and listening is just as important as ‘getting the job done’.
We’re given the picture of rest in Psalm 23, lying down in green pastures. We’re given the picture of rest in 1 Peter 5: 7 when we’re told to cast all our anxiety on Jesus, because He cares for us. And, what about the passage from Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus speaks about His yoke being easy and giving us rest. And, the final scripture for now, Luke 12: 25, ‘which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your span of life?’
And yet, knowing this we still try and juggle far more than we should. I’m going to try and juggle a little less. Some of those eggs that are up in the air are hard-boiled, I’m sure, they can bounce. I can ask God to hold them for a little while.
I’d like to encourage you to put down a few of your eggs with me. Let’s just take a moment to rest when we need it, trust in God to hold the eggs for us. Because we can’t keep juggling forever.
When we are refreshed, we can pick up the important eggs again. We might just find that God has dealt with some of them, and we don’t need to juggle quite as much as before.
Will you do a little less juggling with me, and a little more resting in the Lord?
Your friend and rector