Life ought to be about living

More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings and conferences, study groups and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but you truly love them.  –Henri Nouwen

I feel weighed down by undone tasks and projects looming behind distractions and delay. Being productive, being busy, is made out to be the virtue that validates your worth. But life ought to be about just living, not accomplishing. And I need to just be with people – my wife and daughters, my coworkers and students, my friends.

I do delight in just wandering through the office and making small talk and checking in on those I work with. It’s management by walking around. I don’t aim to disrupt, but I’m eager to enjoy a conversation when the opportunity is there and acknowledge that we are in this together.

Some of my most joyful moments are spent not in getting anything done, but in just enjoying connecting with a fellow human. Pull up a chair next to a friend. Cuddle with your love. Play with your kid. Share a meal and a laugh. No agenda. Nothing to prove or accomplish. Just spread some love and some kindness and revel in being alive in this moment.