May always feels like the busiest month to me. I do not think it actually is the busiest month; rather, it ends up feeling that way, at least for me personally. My guess is that I go into the month expecting it to be a little bit slower paced. Summer is coming and it seems like the transition to some lazier summer days is nearby, yet we are not to the June end-of-the-school-year rush either. In practice, however, the month ends up being full of special events along with moving towards the end of the academic year.
There continues to be plenty of special events this year. The first Sunday in May we will celebrate first communion for our 2nd graders. We had a group of 3rd graders celebrate their first communion in February, but that was delayed from last spring, and so only a few weeks later we have a second group joining us at the table of the sacrament. We also have a baptism in May, keeping a strong sacramental grounding to our worship this month. We also move through the season of Easter, recognize the Ascension of Our Lord of May 13, come to the Day of Pentecost on May 23, and Holy Trinity Sunday on May 30. May, then, is full of special liturgical festivals this year.
More than these church events, though, I suspect that May will feel busy this year because so many activities are resuming. More people are out and about and returning to activities that have been put on hold. I suspect that for many people, their calendars will fill up in ways that they have not for quite some time. This is good, exciting, and hopeful news. At the same time, as we return to so many aspects of our former ways it is worth pondering how we decide what goes onto our calendar and what does not. Do we need to be busy to feel fulfilled? Can we learn from some of the more positive aspects of the slowdown of the past year to help us re-build our schedules in ways that bring forth greater joy into our lives? Above all, how do we create space for our spiritual life in the midst of so many things happening?
Just as effective financial generosity emerges from first fruits giving, so too does effective spiritual grounding. That is, as you look at your calendar, begin by marking off some of your best time slots of the week for your spiritual practices – whether that is reading the bible, a devotional booklet, prayer, meditation, or other practices – so that you can engage them when your mind is at its sharpest, not when it is exhausted. Giving a bit of our best time sets the stage for the use of the rest of your time, casting it in the light of God’s calling. I find that it gives energy and order to the busy days, as well. While there is nothing wrong with a busy schedule, falling into a frenetic pace does lessen our joy in life and make it harder to be aware of God’s love and grace around us. As we return to busy calendars, may we do so in ways that enhance our awareness of God.