Rushing through life is not a good game plan. I know because parts of my life have been defined by trying to keep up and they are now just a blur. As a counterbalance, I think our minds rebel against the rush by making us agitated and discontent, forcing us to crave slowness and to seek the beauty we’ve failed to see.
Isaiah calls the weary to “wait upon the Lord” when our strength needs to be renewed, and Jesus tells us to “come unto Me” and I will give you rest. The remedy for the busy, rushy, crazy-instant life is purposeful rest and quiet. Be still, my soul.
I had five kids in 10 years. To say that this was a busy time of life would be an gross understatement. I was pregnant and so sick FIVE times in those ten years–nearly 50 months of vomiting due to morning sickness that never.went.away. I was just trying to survive most pregnancy-days, so I understand seasons of survival, but I also know that my attitude affected that season.
During that “crazy”– the times that stand out as “beautiful days” were the slow days when I mentally “checked in” and gave thanks to God for what was in front of me right then, morning sickness, messy house, toys strewn and all. Because choosing joy is not dependent on your circumstances, but on your heart. It’s a daily choice. And moms, you are SO much more fun when you are choosing to have a beautiful day.
Some highlights of our “beautiful days” include times when we:
- cozied up under blankets and read aloud some new book
- took walks in the woods after a big snow storm to see the sun reflect through icy crystals
- practiced violin or made silly music together
- learned a new school concept
- watched birds in the back yard with them by sitting “statue still”
- painted together in our nature journals
- went on nature walks or picnics
- packed up and went to the beach
- did normal tasks together, like baking or preparing for company
If you’re not careful, you can be together physically with your kids, but not together at all because we have so many electronic escapes.
And let’s face it–sometimes a world of information is so much more interesting than listening to Great Aunt Jo tell about her recent hip replacement, when we’ve heard the story twice before and, and I think that the sound of her voice may actually put me to sleep which would be so rude, so it’s better to quietly engage somewhere else and stay awake…so I’ll just check my email…click, click.
It’s like standing in front of fire hydrant drinking water that is gushing into your throat and trying to enjoy it long term.
Instead of the fire hydrant approach to life, I think we should choose the little cup approach. A cup that we can comfortably lock our hands around and savor. Yes, the cup is smaller, but we can contain it and process it and know its limits. The cup can be measured and valued and discerned. The cup may not be quite as up to date, or as all-encompassing as the hydrant, but then again, wouldn’t it be better to know one or two things deeply than to know a very little about a lot?
I propose that maybe unending and bigger and more are not always superior when it comes to enjoying life. Maybe slow, little, deep, knowable, intimate, exclusive, and relational are better options.
When you rush through life, you breeze past people. People.
- Did you notice the hurting eyes of your teenager who was trying to tell you her little story, but she went on a little long and you got a little impatient and cut her short so you could move on to the next thing–the really important thing?
- Did you ask your friend about her current apathy about life? She’s actually discouraged and spiraling downward, and nobody seems to notice.
- In your rush, did you speak callously to another person, so oblivious to your own tone of voice that you’re hurting people and shutting them out and you can’t figure out why they won’t warm up to you later?
- Has kindness taken a backseat in your home? You’re too busy to sit with that child or connect with him in a meaningful way. You don’t have time for a cup of lemonade with your kids, but you’ll drop anything for a friend?
I understand that life gets busy, but I also understand that life is more busy than it needs to be. We need to decide if our “busy” is meaningful or meaningless, because let’s face it, there are a thousand-and-one ways to flitter away the day. But just because time passes does not mean it all passed equally. Some 24 hour days were lived better than others. The best days are the ones where we poured into the lives of others and were also poured into. Mutual respect and love receives and gives. (Don’t take on the martyr complex of always having to help all the needy, clueless people around you. You also have needs and can benefit from friends pouring into your life, mutually.)
Call me old fashioned, but I think if we focused more on what was in front of us and less on what was inside the magic 4″ electronic screen, we’d live happier, more thoughtful lives.
What say you?
*PS: You know I love technology as much as the next girl, so I’m not knocking it, I’m saying it’s hold on our life should have definite limits, because the people that are actually in front of us are precious.