The other day, one of my professors greeted us all in his charming German accent and asked “How are you?” I replied, “Busy. Very busy.” He said, “Good, good. Then it means your life has purpose. If you have a purpose, you are busy.”
This semester has really been snowing me under with the combination of graduate-level courses and my new assistantship duties. My days are long and densely packed. Even when I’m not in class, I constantly have my head in the books, because with classes this hard you can’t afford not to. But my schedule means I don’t have the little luxuries I’ve enjoyed in other semesters. I have to turn in graded work without having an extra day to be extra sure I’m doing it right. I’m not able to memorize everything I’d like to memorize. I don’t have time to write rambling notes to myself unpacking every concept thoroughly. I sometimes have to let one course lag while I focus on a particular assignment in another, then resign myself to the fact that there’s probably something I’ll forget to review before the first course’s midterm. (Either that, or turn in an incomplete assignment and let the professor who gives too much homework accept the fact that I have other classes to attend to!)
But even while all this is mentally and physically taxing, there’s a certain sense in which I’m proud of it. Every time I say “Well, I gotta go do x now, see you in study group tomorrow,” or “Oh wait, I have a meeting at that time, can we re-schedule?” or “Not now, maybe in a week and a half after I’m done with all my midterms,” it feels exhausting and good at the same time. Because I really am that busy, I’m also getting a lot done. I’m fulfilling my commitments as a teacher and working closely with my peers. I’m networking with my professors. And I’m learning really important stuff.
I think what my professor meant is that at some point in all our lives, making that transition into adulthood means that if we have any kind of plan for ourselves, we will become busy doing something. If I, as an able-bodied adult, am not busying myself with anything, then I’m not actively working to carve out my niche in society. I’m not contributing anything of value. And I’m not interacting with real life and real people.
Being busy is not always fun, and it can be downright maddening when balls get dropped or people are unreasonable (both of which are inevitable). But it is purposeful. The fact that you are busy means you have something to offer to the world.
That’s all I have for today, but hopefully it will give some other busy folks out there an encouraging perspective on our busy-ness. And rest assured that I still have a LOT to write about here, from music reviews to film criticism to observations on faith and culture. I’ve got also a couple concert reports to put together if I can just find a bit of spare time, including my last time ever seeing Jim Brady with the Booth Brothers. So please do stay tuned. 🙂 Meanwhile, here are two things that have been making me happy lately: Cathedrals harmony and High Kings harmony: