The other day I went to freeze some extra pizza sauce from our homemade pizza night. I was presented with a Tupperware of sauce, a bunch of baggies and a strong desire to not clean up my whole counter when I was finished. Enter life hacks. I recalled that when you use a juice glass with your bag open inside it, you can pour liquids in and the bag won’t collapse and spill. Perfect! Don’t you love how many “Top 5 Life Hacks” or “10 Hacks to Organize Your Kitchen” pins, posts and lists exist for our use and amusement?
As I was (successfully) transferring my pizza sauce I started thinking about how many “life hacks” there are out there. Twist ties around your computer cords, putting shelving on the insides of cabinet doors for spices or storage, making use of organizers and labels, etc. Some of them are genuinely helpful. Others seem like perhaps they are trying a bit too hard to make it into the top 10/20/50 hacks (One website I found had “Add kitchen island” as a hack.) When it’s all said and done, these hacks are about making daily life simpler or to speed up a process.
When searching for hacks, you may come across some spiritual hacks. Though technology hacks make some elements of prayer and spirituality easier (audiobooks, prayer apps and reminders, the Bible on your phone, etc.) we need to exercise caution. There is no hack for a true relationship with God. No amount of hacks, apps or shortcuts will set us on fire with God’s love.
Or is there? Fr. Ron Rolheiser, an incredible theologian and spiritual guide, shared a story about a friend who was struggling with prayer and doubt. The friend visited a Jesuit priest and was counseled with the following advice:
Make a promise to yourself to sit in silent prayer for a half an hour a day for the next six months. I promise you that if you are faithful to that you will, by that time, recover your sense of God.
The man was shocked and rather perturbed. Shouldn’t there be more? A book to read? Sets of prayers to say? Places to visit? To put it another way, hacks. What hacks do I have to do to accomplish my goal? He didn’t realize he was just handed the Ultimate Life Hack.
The Ultimate Life Hack
The advice of the priest is so simple that it may actually be the Ultimate Life Hack. Show up.
If we want a relationship with God, we have to show up. We have to listen, be attentive and be open to the movement of the Spirit.
If we want fruitful relationships with others, we have to show up. We need to spend time with the other person, we must listen to their needs and share in their lives.
When we want to be successful in business or work, we have to show up. We give our best efforts, collaborate effectively with others and make the most of each day.
We are successful parents when we have to show up hands and eyes free. It’s hard to fully show up (for kids and for adults) with a phone glued to our hand or ear, with the TV on all day long or tablets running with increased frequency.
Where do you need to spend less time looking for shortcuts and more time just showing up?
Copyright 2017 Kate Taliaferro