I am a pacifist, so I don’t really think of my Guardian Angel as a being who would use violence.
But lately I’ve been saying to people, “If I tell you ‘yes, I’ll do it,’ I’m afraid my guardian angel is going to slap me. Well, yes, of course, they look at me strangely.
Even so, we’ve all seen one of those movies where someone is getting hysterical—just losing it!—and all of a sudden someone slaps them and they come out of their crazy state and face reality, pulling their psyche together.
Well, I think the challenge of the Christian, or, in more general terms, the person who is spiritually determined and karmatically driven to do good in a loving manner, is to get a balance on the use of the word “yes” before they get into a psychotic disabling habit of using the word.
I am no one to model that kind of balanced behavior. I’m learning. I have only recently come to a position of conscious change in behavior after years of saying, “I have to do something! I’ve got to cut back. I’m too damn busy! I’m constantly exhausted!”
A statement that gave me a bit of a slap in the face was when I heard my spiritual director say, “Being too busy is evil. It affects everything you do and it affects your relationships.” I’ve certainly gotten to a point where I see the depth of relationships suffering while the breadth of the number of relationships increases. I serve in an elected public office, so it’s a bit hard to get a handle on this. But I think anyone working in the service of peace, justice, and integrity of creation is serving in “public office” and faces the same challenge. More strongly, I am better understanding the importance of deepening the close relationships. These relationships provide for me a fortress against insanity.
Let’s return to the “yes problem.” I’ve finally learned that to not say “yes” doesn’t mean to say “no.” I have found other phrases that put it a different way: “I’m sorry I won’t be able to do that, but I have the contact info for someone who would be a terrific help.” Or, “I’m not free to take care of that now, but after ________ (blah, blah, blah), I’ll have a little more time.” Or, “I don’t have the time to do that, but I’d be glad to sit with you for a while and work on some ideas.”
Anyway, by using creativity in a response that makes the other person and I feel there has not been a rejection, I’m able to ease my conscious and conserve my time and energy. I figure it works a lot better than pushing myself to that hysterical state with a screaming rant that ends with, “Are you crazy?!!! I’m so friggin’ busy!!! I don’t have time for that!!” because that’s when I just might start to feel the hand of the winged being come flying at me. I must remember that even Jesus took the boat out away from the shore, away from all the demand on His time. And, He went out to the desert…alone…to the silence!
But we are so accessible these days whether by email, Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, Text, or Phone call, it’s hard to pull the boat out from the shore of communications and accessibility.Just as God is not in the earthquake, the wind, or the fire, He is not in the emailing, facebooking, or the texting. He is in the silence.“Yes” cuts down on our time to be silent unless we are saying yes to the silence. I think the hand of my guardian angel is held back by my now greater commitment of a yes to Silence.
Mrs. Patti Radle serves on Missionary Oblate Justice and Peace Committee and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Theology from the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio. Mrs. Radle also serves as elected trustee to the San Antonio Independent School District Board of Trustees.