I do things fast – I eat fast, complete checklists fast, pursue goals fast, and tend to even have my interactions with others fast.
Clearly, when it comes to getting things accomplished promptly, without delay, and multitasking various things to expand workloads, efficiency, and capacity, I’m the guy. But this comes also at a high cost in my ability to enjoy moments, and to fully experience the tastes of life.
When one eats too fast, they miss the delicate flavors of their food. They simply fill up, and miss out on the enjoyment a good meal can bring.
When you rush through conversations and interactions, you miss truly hearing someone’s story, getting to know them, and allowing them to “see” you.
You can also miss the variety of things going on all around you. Perhaps by focusing so intently on the tasks in front of you, you don’t hear the birds singing, the beauty of laughter, the sights of nature and/or the smells of a good meal slowly being prepared with care. You’re in a zone and all else is missed, or diluted.
This has been my life for so long, I can’t remember another way. Recently, I was jogging on the beach – something I love to do. The sun was shining and the water was crystal clear and blue, but as I jogged, my mind raced with thoughts of my day, so much so I completely ran past my stopping point. I could have kept running forever it seemed in thought. I had completely missed all the beauty around me.
Yet, it was during my walk back to the place I missed, I was able to laugh at myself with kindness. I am now more aware of this tendency and God is helping me learn to slow down but to also be more kind to myself in the process.
On my slow stroll back, I was able to take in the sights, sounds and life around me. From the families playing together, the seagulls fishing, the smiling faces of passers by, and the gentle sea breeze cooling me down after my long run. My heart was filling up again, as I became in-tune with my inner myself, and my outer surroundings.
Being efficient, prompt, punctual, and ambitious in making things as perfect as they can be, can all be good qualities, but not when they cause you to sacrifice so much awareness to all the other aspects of life going on around you.
This is living with blinders – a blind ambition that is highly focused on achieving goals – which this world applauds and rewards, but it comes at such a high cost to the soul.
I pray for the wisdom, patience, courage, and strength to take life more slowly. To enjoy my meals, to taste my food, to count my blessings, fo kindle my relationships and allow them to linger – to risk being “seen”, and to see others. To take in deep breathes of life – all its sights, smells, and sensory gifts.
I want to walk more slowly with Jesus, to truly linger with Him, as His disciples did as they walked and talked slowly from place to place, sharing meals by campfire, and getting to know each other in ways that expanded beyond their exterior facade.
Life is so short – as we are reminded in various verses to number our days, and to realize how brief it all truly is.
Life is truly both beautiful, and hard – a comedy and a tragedy – and every bit of it worth taking in, processing, learning, growing, and then faithfully sharing our bounties in love to the glory of God, while also embracing the time to enjoy Him forever.