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What's the Rush?

Sunday, January 22, 2012
Rushing, rushing, rushing…. that is the American way. As the rabbit in The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland says, “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say, ‘Hello, Goodbye’…. I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”, so is the way of most people in America. If we are not rushing, our life is somehow not as important as those who are rushing, at least that is the lie that we have all swallowed. I once was one of those in the rushing lane.

I spoke in a previous post about my gait and how it has changed. “ I noticed how markedly different it was and still is. I have always had a fast gait. I walked with a purpose, a mission, everywhere I went. It was a confident gait. It was athletic at times. My head was always up and my gaze was always looking ahead in the direction that I was going. If walking in a building, I would walk right past people sometimes, without acknowledging them because my mind would be completely engrossed in the thoughts necessary for the place I was heading and the people with whom I would be meeting…my gait is different now. It is much slower. My head is bent down most of the time. My gaze is usually at my feet or on the ground before me.” My head is not cast down as often now, but my gait is still slower. I see this as a good thing. I have learned a better pace and, hopefully, I will maintain it. A slow gait can be just as confident as a faster gait. Maybe there is more wisdom and discernment in a slower gait? Can’t we have a purpose or a mission with a slower gait? What’s the rush? Is anything truly accomplished by rushing?


What really matters? What are we here for anyway? Is it to accomplish one thing after another? If so, then we must rush because life is short and we are running out of time….. How can we ever finish the ‘to do’ list if we don’t rush? Most of the rushing involves things that we don’t have to feel, experience, or really even respond to emotionally in any way. They don’t speak to our hearts. Not that everything we do in one given day needs to be something that speaks to our heart. There are necessities each day that need to be done, that is a given. It is when our whole day becomes consumed with one long series of rushing from point A to point B. It is the process that we, all too often, condense into the shortest distance between two points. The shortest distance is never the most beautiful, thought provoking route on any journey.

I was recently at a swim meet with Julia in Pensacola, Florida. This is when the habit of people rushing hit me in the face. It has been simmering for many months but I saw it for what it was for the first time. The “spirit of busyness” became naked before my eyes. It was ugly, bitter, a turnoff, and even repulsive. I saw all of these parents rushing everywhere they went during the meet, not even just to watch their child swim, but to get a drink, a snack, locate someone, or even to organize their ‘spot’. I once did the exact same thing…. Did it change anything? Is my list of things to accomplish any shorter today because of the way I rushed back then? “What’s the rush?” kept repeating itself in my head over and over again as I walked slowly in the pool area from point A to point B.

I wish I had learned this sooner, while Michael was here, so that we could have enjoyed a slower gait together. (I have not asked God many questions this past year but I have asked him, “Why such drastic measures to teach me something, to mold me into more of what you intended me to be?”) I made a conscious effort a couple of years ago to stop trying to multi-task. It helped me to begin the slower pace and gave me more focus on that “one thing”. After Michael’s death, my pace has reached levels I never thought were possible. While at the swim meet, I felt like I was in slow motion yet watching everything else in fast forward. All of the conversations, shouts, and noises seemed to blend together into one big cacophony of rushing gaits.

Life is richer with a slower gait, even with the pain and weight that my gait now carries. I still have so much to learn. Maybe this too is just a season, but wisdom tells me to never go back to the rush of my previous gait. I want to live my life in this present moment and hear God all along the way. There is a book that bears a title describing this desire to live in the moment…. The Sacrament of the Present Moment, by Jean-Pierre De Caussade. An observance of the present moment. So much to learn in the moment. Life is short. We have a purpose. We have a window of opportunity to play our role well and with passion. We don’t have to roar and push and shove to seize the day. Slow, deliberate steps have more impact. Quiet strength is a beautiful thing.


Anonymous Says:
January 24, 2012 at 8:04 AM

Wonderful - rest in that! Indeed, everything in life teaches us something and makes evermore into the fine instrument God is ever tuning us to. It also makes me more and more drawn to the words in Ecclesiastes - the whole book! I love the way that book ends. It's all about trust - all about what truly matters and what is eternal. Blessings on your continued journey.

Anonymous Says:
January 24, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

These statements really stand out to me today:

“I want to live my life in this present moment and hear God all along the way.”

“Life is short. We have a purpose.”

“Slow, deliberate steps have more impact.”

“Quiet strength is a beautiful thing.”

Anonymous Says:
January 24, 2012 at 9:21 PM

This is a very touching entry.

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