Life is a marathon, especially if you are a parent, occupied in work, and serving the commuity. It is not a race, but it sure feels like it. A marathon is accomplished a step at a time with endurance toward a goal. There are times to run and times to slow down. Slowing down at times helps us know what is important.
The one thing that is moving toward the top of my list is slowing down to listen. I listen to nature. I listen to people, especially children, and I listen to the silence, when I can find it. The mind doesn't take to "slow" very well, but the effort proves worth it as it is practiced more and more. It takes more time than I am used to giving
“Sometimes slow is better: in understanding, in learning to be patient, in going deeper spiritually.” states Fred Rogers, who is typified by his slow deliberate pace and measured words. I long for that.
I watched Fred Rogers on You Tube last night and wished the whole world could slow down enough to listen to his message and grasp it.. Reading his quotes are fine, but hearing him SAY it with his calm reassuring voice is encouraging.
"I like you just the way your are." he says.
"Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetimes work, but its worth the effort."
"Nobody else can live the life you live. You are uniquely you"
Striving and hurrying to slow down doesn't work. I am learning to let go of my expectations for the day, and allow time for interruptions, particularly as it relates to people and relationships. I must listen to what God is saying through my time in scripture and each circumstance in which I find myself. It becomes a state of mind....a philosophy.
On Saturday nights, I reserve slow time to be WITH people. No expectations or hard and fast plan. I find that I enjoy sharing familiar experiences and relating to so many of the same things. Over the years, I have found myself reaching for growth and pushing for relationships. That just doesn’t do it. Relationships happen naturally and so does growth. It can be dauntingly slow. But maybe not.
Last night, I sat down by my fireplace and gabbed with my friend Claudia, as we sipped iced tea together. I have known Claudia from the time our children were small. Years have passed and our paths crossed again recently through writing books. Now we get together just for fun, to play games with others, or share odd tidbits of news, laughter, and sometimes sorrow. We don’t have an agenda. We don’t have to think about what to say. It just happens.
After a night's sleep, I sat in my favorite chair. The other chair was sitting there, empty and staring at me. I decided to imagine Jesus physically sitting there. I talked with him for a short time casually, like I had talked to Claudia. It was relaxed and slow. I didn't have to pray formally or robotically. or even out of obligation. The quietness was like music to my ears. In the quietness I felt the comradery and experienced the love.
How can I do this more often? First, I have to recognize the results of peace and confidence as I slow down. Maybe I can add an extra hour to my day by not sleeping an extra hour over what I really need. Maybe I could run new mantras through my brain about slowing down and waiting. I think the best thing I can do is to ask God to remind me when to be quiet, when to talk, when to slow down and when to pick up my pace...and give me the stamina to follow. It may be a long time before I grasp this way of living because I have over 50 years of living frantically.
I just now texted my son’s girlfriend who I have grown to love. I had not talked to her in a long time. She lives in Florida. We decided to talk on the phone at 8 AM tomorrow morning and chat over a cup of coffee. Just that one simple thing is "slowing down". It is not only important but fun.
Life is about slowing down to appreciate living, breathing beautiful people. There is a warmth that comes by being in the presence of people.
Peace be to all those I meet in this day.