I remember once watching an episode of Modern Family in which Phil compared his wife, Claire, to a Border collie. He was referring to her need to go running every day in order to keep herself sane. In reply, Claire asked, “Did you just compare me to a dog?”
The whole exchange has most likely stuck with me because I, like many moms, am similar. It may not be in regard to running or exercising but in terms of being up and active, cleaning this or folding that, and maintaining a constant state of productivity, I think many of us can relate to Claire. Sitting down can often feel unnatural, unmerited, and wasteful.
For a long time, I considered it a good thing that I had adopted this preference to be on my feet accomplishing tasks and completing chores while I carried on conversations, listened to audiobooks, and even prayed. I didn’t see anything wrong with multitasking, especially since there were always monotonous things to do around the house and I wanted to be able to feed my brain, too. After all, women tend to be better multitaskers so why shouldn’t I capitalize on the skill?
Then, a couple weeks ago, while we were vacationing in Virginia Beach, I was sitting quietly before the Blessed Sacrament in a beautiful church called St. John the Apostle. While reading the Gospel of the day in which Jesus compares the Kingdom of heaven to a net thrown into the sea that collects all kinds of fish, I found myself fixated on Mt 13:48:
“When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets but threw the bad away.”
Of all the components of that beautiful passage, the detail I couldn’t steer myself away from was the fact that the fishermen sat down before separating the fish. I tried to move on to meditate on the more remarkable elements of the gospel like that dreadful, fiery furnace containing wailing and grinding teeth but it was futile. I looked up at Christ in all his splendid humility within the monstrance and whispered, “Why did you tell us that they sat down? Who cares?”
The next day’s readings presented two options for the Gospel, one from John and the other from Luke. Ironically, both contained references to Jesus’ friend, Mary, sitting down. In one instance it’s to listen to Christ speak and in the other it’s in mourning her brother’s death.
By the time I read the Gospel on August 1 and realized that Jesus ordered the crowd to sit down prior to the miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fishes, I was starting to get the message.
I needed to make more time to sit down and converse with the Lord.
Of course, it is extremely valuable for us to pray during our workouts or listen to podcasts or audiobooks while we fold laundry. It is, however, infinitely beneficial if we’re able to sit down and do nothing other than spend some quality time with our God. Whether it’s through reading Scripture or other religious books, mental prayer, journaling, meditations like the rosary or simply just basking in the quiet peace of Christ, there are great advantages awaiting us when we allow our bodies to relax while our minds connect with the divine.
Interestingly, when a physician sits down during a visit with a patient, the patient perceives the doctor as having spent about forty percent more time with them than if they’d remained standing. We all know how valuable we feel when a person takes a seat and directs all their attention to us and our concerns. This is the devotion we ought to have for our Maker.
Yes, it’s difficult with dependent children and a to-do list you could probably make yourself a chair out of. But the benefits we’ll reap are well worth carving out a little time to pop a squat with God.
Do you find it difficult to set everything else aside and sit quietly with the Lord or is it something you’ve mastered and look forward to doing?
Copyright 2016 Elizabeth Pardi