When our daughter was small, we spent a lot of time playing in the front yard. We lived along a surprisingly busy country road which followed the bends and curves of a creek for seven of its 10 miles. Our home was located along the “straight” section. Many people made up time that they’d lost or would lose in the windy stretch by driving far too fast along our stretch of the road. Mimicking my own words, Claire would often shout, “Slow down, buddy!” at cars speeding by.
When I find myself rushing from one thing to the next, I often stop to remind myself that it’s not a race—at least it’s not supposed to be. I need someone to yell at me, “Slow down, buddy!”
It’s easy to lose sight of what I’ve accomplished because I’m more focused on all the things on my list that I didn’t manage to get to. I’m learning that most things—especially grocery shopping—take me longer than I anticipate.
I am learning though. Ankle surgery last April forced me to slow down, or at least sit down, for months. Ongoing trouble with that ankle continues to slow my pace. There are times when I have overdone it and simply must sit down in the recliner with my feet up and ankle iced. I can do many things in that position—but I can’t do everything that needs to be done. And I’m learning to be okay with that. Always an avid reader, I keep a book next to the recliner along with the prayer book that Claire (now 16) gave me for Christmas.
So why do I feel the need to hurry through life lately? The country group Rascal Flatts, in their song “Mayberry,” says it well: “Sometimes it feels like this world’s spinning faster than it did in the old days” (lyrics by Arlos Darrell Smith). If you haven’t listened to the song, you really need to. It’s about missing the slower pace of Mayberry (remember the Andy Griffith show?).
Slowing down or taking a break doesn’t need to mean being lazy—even if it can feel like it to those of us concerned about being “productive.” We all need balance and a sane pace in our lives. We also need to take care of ourselves and our responsibilities.
When I realize that life is moving too fast and threatens to spin out of control, I take a deep breath and recall Jesus’ words:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27, NRSV)
Or, in other words, “Slow down, buddy!”
What helps you when the fast pace of life today gets to you?
Feature photo by Matt Banks / FreeDigitalPhotos.net