So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.
There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again. The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well….”
Did that sound familiar? It’s the beginning of the first chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
The White Rabbit is key to the story, because he is the one that Alice follows—but should she? She falls down the rabbit hole, follows the rabbit into his house, and what happens to her? She suddenly gets all puffed up, grows into a giant, and finds herself trapped inside. It’s a lot like what happens to us when we get too busy. We run around shilly-shallying, as Carroll would say, so concerned with ourselves and what we have to do that we become trapped by time. Just like the White Rabbit, we check the clock and fret about what’s next on our list, oblivious to the things that the Lord might be trying to teach us.
I think of the peaceful scene at the beginning of the chapter where Alice and her sister are resting on the riverbank reading and relaxing together. Everything is all right until Alice spots the White Rabbit and runs off after it. The result is a stress-filled romp through Wonderland that almost ends with Alice losing her head. Thankfully, she wakes just in time to find herself resting safe in her sister’s lap, grateful that it was only a dream.
Granted, Alice’s adventure makes for a good story, but I can’t help but wonder about the fellowship—with her sister and the Lord— that Alice missed by choosing to follow the harried White Rabbit. It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible:
Now as they went on their way, he (Jesus) entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
Can you imagine being too busy to spend time with Jesus? Most of us will answer “no”, but are we being truthful? I’m guilty, and I think you might be, too. Every day Jesus is a guest in my house. My intentions are good. I try to schedule quiet time to be alone with Him, but I’m too often distracted. I have things to do, and my time in fellowship with Him gets pushed to the end of the day. I wish that more often when I’m following the White Rabbit I would remember the Lord’s words: “(Jean, Jean) you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.”
If you are like me, you sometimes find yourself following the White Rabbit, tumbling down the rabbit hole, and feeling trapped like a giant in a way-too-small house with the world closing in on you. How might our lives change if, like Mary, we stop in the middle of the busiest time of day, sit down at the Lord’s feet and listen—really listen—to what He has to say?
Thank you for coming into my home every day, and thank you for staying even when I am too busy to spend time with you. Forgive me, and remind me, please, to set my mind not on earthly things, but always on you.