THE RAT RACE
I hear this phrase used sometimes and this morning it even came out of my own mouth. But I stopped and wondered what that even meant…rat race.
It sort of paints the picture of a lab rat whose running around a maze trying to reach the end but is not really even sure what the end looks like.
One definition given for the phrase is “a continual, exhausting routine of hectic and often competitive activity”.
Continual. Exhausting. Routine.
And then of course there’s that word hectic.
Hectic. “Full of incessant or frantic activity.” I discovered that the word actually comes from a medical term used to describe a recurring fever that causes flushed red cheeks and dry, hot skin.
How does someone like me, who has privilege and opportunity and freedom and healthy relationships end up feeling like a rat in a maze, full of frantic activity?
Perspective… or maybe a loss of it.
Lack of intentionality- forgetting my purpose.
Jesus was busy. His schedule was full and there were always more things on the list at the end of the day. Even when he tried to take a quiet moment to himself, people found him and interrupted his space. But I’m not sure I would ever define his demeanor as hectic. He didn’t seem to buy into the “rat race” mentality even when others compared his success or achievements to John the Baptist.
He wasn’t competing or strategizing.
He also wasn’t passive or without purpose.
He was present.
So many times I read that Jesus was headed somewhere with a purpose, but the story we hear is about what happened on the way. The people he encountered on the way…and he was present with them, on his way.
Where am I headed today? Who and what might be on the way that I will miss if I’m frantic or hectic in the act of getting to the end? I want to be present with people, to notice them on the way to where I’m going. I want to have “stories on the way”.
It’s about perspective and intentions and purpose. It’s being present while on the way. As quoted by Alice Morse Earle, Eleanor Roosevelt and. of course, Master Oogway,
"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."