Fanny Price, the heroine in Jane Austen’s book, Mansfield Park, makes a striking comment while waiting for a carriage one evening. She comments on how the time between dinner and the carriage arrival passed in a “quick succession of busy nothings”. Even though Fanny was only remarking on the passing of a few short hours, I think the line illustrates perfectly how life can, and does, easily become dreadfully dull and boring for each of us if we’re not attentive. We wake up, go to work, eat, watch television, plunk around online and go back to sleep, only to do the exact same thing, with little variation, the next day. We become complacent and bored, getting stuck in ruts and having mid-life crises. We go out and buy bigger houses or sports cars just to feel alive because we’re terrified that life really is nothing more than an endless succession of busy nothings.
And then you pick up the small, unassuming book called The Reed of God and you stop for a moment. This outstanding spiritual-yet-sensible writer and mystic sets the record straight for those of us in the doldrums. In her 120-page work, she establishes quickly the fact that Divinity is present in inanity and that there is nothing that can bring you to God faster than changing a dirty diaper or mowing the lawn. Whatever your stage in life, doing the best you possibly can in the moment you’re in is the surest way to holiness and sanctity. Continue reading