The story is told about a town mayor who was asked on camera by a reporter: “Sir, are you busy, sir?” To which the mayor responded:  “No, I’m not ‘Bise (Vice Mayor),’ I’m Mayor!”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Mk. 6, 30-34), Jesus ordered His disciples who were so busy to “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Jesus knew that becoming superbusy can lead one to become exhausted and empty. Check yourself today.  Are you getting too flimsy, angry? Maybe you are already running on empty.

* * *

Let us thank God for people who remind us from time to time to slow down and take it easy. These are people who truly care for us and for our ministry. They know that too much work can make us weary, and pushing too hard can make us exhausted and tired, which in turn can affect the quality of our ministry.

* * *

It is interesting to note that we panic whenever we see our fuel or battery indicators showing that we are close to empty, and yet seem to pay no attention or care when our bodies and our spirit are shouting for a break or rest. Superbusy? Remember you are not Superman/woman!

* * *

Last week, my blood pressure was rather high. It was a reminder for me to slow down, go on a diet, and rest. Listen to your blood! Literally. The whole experience made me also listen in prayer to God, who asked me questions like: “Why are you working so hard? For what? For whom?” When we truly listen, we go back to what is really basic and important again.

* * *

If we don’t slow down, sooner or later life itself will slow us down. Or God Himself will slow us down, if only to make us realize that our worth is not so much in becoming somebody, but in being a someone.

* * *

We listen best when we are silent. As someone once beautifully pointed out, the words “silent” and “listen” have the same letters in them. It is when we are on silent mode that we really listen to our souls, to life, and to God Himself, and this journey to a “deserted place” is such a refreshing, recharging, and renewing experience.

* * *

“So much that needs to be done; so little time. Even rest has to be rushed before work begins again. Sigh…”  If you can relate with that statement, then you are superbusy, and you are a candidate for early retirement, or worse, early rest in the cemetery.

* * *

Do you find yourself irritable, and easily getting angry in your work? This is a sign that you need to slow down, or altogether stop for a while, and ask yourself: Why are you doing what you are doing, and for whom/what are you doing what you are doing? You’ll be surprised that the reason for all the busyness and the shouting is that there’s too much of you.

* * *

We all need quiet time. When do you go on silent mode? We all need a quiet place. Where do you go to recharge and reflect? We all need a quiet presence. Do you talk and listen to God in prayer? We all need a quiet company. With whom can you really be yourself and feel at home? Yes, we need a regular time,  place, presence, person, or group “away from the maddening crowd.”

* * *

My sister Bing, who is on vacation from her teaching work in Washington, DC, brought our 90-year-old Mama for a medical checkup two weeks ago, and she was so impressed with Dr. Mark Arjan Fernandez. The good ENT literally went out of his way, bringing his medical gadgets and instruments to examine Mama in the van because she could not go up to his clinic in the second floor. Bing hopes that there will be more like Dr. Arjan who joyfully go the extra mile for their patients.

* * *

Speaking of “extra mile,” I’d like to thank again Fr. Paul de Guzman, who went out of his way to bring me to his favorite barber in Pili, Camarines Sur. I may have erroneously mentioned his name in my last column, but I have definitely not forgotten his kind and touching deed to a fellow priest. Dios mabalos, Father Paul!

* * *

Perhaps this thought would teach us to slow down: “No point in using limited life in chasing unlimited money; no point in earning so much money if you can’t live to spend it; no point in chasing wealth and in the process lose your health; no point in gaining the whole world, and losing your peace, your good name, your family and friends and your very soul.”

* * *

In the thick of the grind sparks and the flashbulbs, don’t miss the candle glow…

* * *

Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on “Prevention of Memory Loss” with Dr. Deana Santos-Ringor on July 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, at the Janssen Hall of the Christ the King Seminary on E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon City. For inquiries, please call 373-2262, 998-2548, or 0917-4167849.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, slow me down when I get to be superbusy, and remind me to become a someone, not a somebody. Amen.

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