I slept and I dreamt life was joy.
I awoke and I saw life was service.
I acted and behold service was joy.
Finding the right balance is an ongoing challenge in the world today. There are so many things that seem to scream out for our action, especially in times of transition. I know that I can easily get caught up in running from a meeting to soccer practice to visiting the sick to counseling a couple preparing for marriage to paperwork (which never seems to end) to writing to returning calls to putting a Band-Aid on Micah’s knee to doing the dishes and all the while my cell phone is ringing and I know that my e-mail box is filling. At the end of the day I can fall into bed exhausted and wondering what I accomplished.
Most of the activities we get caught up in are good. They are service. They are, each in their own way, attempts to help manifest the Kingdom of God in the world. But are they bringing joy?
When I read the poem above by Ribindranath Tagore, a nobel prize winning Indian poet, I realized that much of my service was not joy. I had lost the roots of service. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that without rooting our service in prayer it will become a burden. Martha felt the burden of service. She was weighed down by worries and anxiety which deprived her of joy. Mary chose the “better part” by sitting “at the Lord’s feet listening to him speak.” This “better part” would allow Mary to serve with joy because she was rooted in the Lord. Finding the right balance between prayer and service enables us to serve with joy. If you are feeling burdened by many worries, maybe that burden is a call to sit at the Lord’s feet in prayer and listen to His gentle, loving voice.