Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Lent 2

The third in the series:
Lent 2

After last week's snippet, it occurs to me that perhaps next year I should give up meetings for Lent.

It seems that in the Christian and Secular spheres, we often have people setting up meetings for the sake of it.  We have meetings to discuss ideas, meetings to discuss meetings; we even have meetings to ensure that the meetings remain in our diaries.  Sometimes, we have that most blessed of all – the duplicate meeting.

Meetings appease our conscience – they make us look busy, give us a sense of accomplishment and can help us gather others around us to make decisions we don't want to accept sole responsibility for.  Meetings can be hugely beneficial, and often are, but sometimes I do wonder how many of them are needless duplication.

The trend exists in the Church (with a capital 'C'!), but it does have to be said that the trend exists outside the Church, too.  In other organisations and institutions, we sometimes see the infamous 'Update' meeting creeping into our diaries.

I wonder whether the purpose of many of our meetings is clear to us, or whether it is to enable us or others to feel busy.

We do like to be busy and to look busy – in our faith and in our careers.  It gives us something to measure, some way to validate how we spend our time.  I wonder how much time we clear in our lives to enable us to reflect and be silent.  That's not as easy to measure or to feel good about, but arguably much more beneficial.

Perhaps that's a second challenge this Lent, or for a future Lent … Can we allow ourselves some space to reflect on our faith, our families or our careers? Or is that me trying to give the time a purpose again?  Can we simply allow ourselves some time without anything to do?

Can we allow ourselves to not schedule a meeting, but merely spend time alone or with others, for their- or our sake?  Rather than investing in our timetables, can we allow ourselves to invest in ourselves and our relationships – whether they are work or personal?

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