Have you ever been so busy you start forgetting things? I have heard a lot of my friends who have a few years on me blame this phenomenon on age, but I’ve experienced it my entire life. In the last few years, since switching jobs and reprioritizing my life, I have realized that the recent forgetfulness is not a function of my own scattered brain, but of the level of stress and busyness in my life. Running around like a chicken with my head cut off does not do much for my ability to be organized mentally OR physically. Focusing my energies entirely on putting out fires, while perhaps honing quick responses, serves only to make me less of the person God wants me to be. My ability to focus on the quiet times in life, those times when I’m likely to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, completely falls away. My patience wears thin, my prayer life starts unraveling, and then the rest of it goes. Usually, God has to pull out a baseball bat to get my attention again.

Being busy has its advantages. For one thing, you can use it as your excuse or reason (depending on whether you’re a half-full or half-empty person) for getting out of other things. “Nah, I can’t do one more thing. I’m busy.” “Adoration? Have you seen my schedule?” “You know, if God wanted me to do that, he would make time in my day for it.”

Here’s the thing: free will means that we have the ability to set our own schedules. Free will means that we can say “yes” or “no” and that divine intervention is optional (though not rare, at least when I have my eyes open to it!).

Sometimes, we choose to be busy. Sometimes, we can’t help it. Even so, in the midst of the hustle and bustle, in the very center of the craziness, we have to find time to be still and silent. It is not impossible, though we may need to ask God for help in finding that time and way to be still and silent.

We certainly don’t live in a world that sees the value in still and silent. But then, we don’t live in a world that sees the sense in the Cross either. We are called to be people of prayer, and while I pray plenty during the busy parts of my day, there’s something in the still and silent time that I need and crave. Getting myself to sit still is a challenge. Keeping myself from being busy—with dishes, on the computer, folding clothes, thousands of small and large tasks waiting and calling to me—is often a hurdle. But when I do, I find the hug of the peace that waits for me, as I lay my head in my Father’s lap, and my Mother strokes my temple.