On Call

“Oh, that I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.” Ps 55:6

Porch swings, picnic tables, and handwritten letters almost seem like relics of a bygone age. Symbols of today’s fast paced culture are fast food drive through’s, computer games, and email. In spite of the changes in our cultural icons, we actually may not be that much busier than the last generation – after all, we still only have 24 hours in a day. The problem is, however, that we seldom “get away from it all.” Experts say that communication technology gives immediate access to anyone, virtually anywhere. We are no more than a text or cell phone call away from being summoned. Because of that phenomenon, Dr. Mark Moskowitz of Boston University’s Medical Center observes, ” A lot of people are working 24 hours a day, taking a breakseven days a week, even when they’re not technically at work.” That is a precursor to first class exhaustion.

Government executive Roy Neel quit his job as deputy chief of staff in the Clinton administration and took a slower paced job. He realized that work, even for the President of the United States, was not worth the price. It hit home for Roy the night he and his nine year old son Walter were ready to walk out the door for a long promised baseball game. The phone rang, and it was the President. Walter was not impressed with a call from the White House. What he wanted was to go to the baseball game with his dad. After the hour long phone call, Roy discovered his son had found a ride to the game with a neighbor. He commented, “Our society has become schizophrenic. We praise people who want balance in their lives, but reward those who work themselves to death.”

When asked his formula for success, physicist Albert Einstein spelled it out this way: “If A is success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. Work is X, Y is play, and Z is keeping your mouth shut.” What a genius!

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