Posted tagged ‘slowing down’

Slow Down Day

June 26, 2018

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                    June 26, 2018

                                          

adult fashion footwear ground

Photo by Jens Mahnke on Pexels.com

Tomorrow, June 27, is Bike to Work Day in Colorado Springs. Since I’m retired, plus I don’t own a bicycle, I won’t be participating. I’m all for the idea, but I’m not sure a bike helmet will protect someone from the local Nascar drivers heading to work.

I’ve got another idea! How about a “Slow Down Day”? A day when people commit to driving the speed limit or UNDER IT!

I just shake my head at the number of drivers who seem to be in a hurry to get to the next stoplight before anyone else. They are over-populating the roadways more than the rabbits are taking over our neighborhood. 

About two months ago I was sideswiped by a man in a man-sized pickup truck who thought he would thunder over two lanes to the exit. He said he didn’t see my dark blue CRV with all the daylight around us! Thankfully no one was hurt…and I had a witness who pulled up beside my vehicle and said “I saw the whole thing!” I’m not bitter (Okay! Maybe a little bitter!), just agitated. His sense of hurry resulted in hours of my times in the next three weeks or so taking care of repair details, getting a rental car, talking to insurance company people.

Slow down!

One of our insightful neighborhood residents has posted signs at each of our subdivision’s entrances with the number “25” in large print, and also put these words above the number: “Drive like your own children live here!”

God had it right when he instructed his people to have a day of rest each week, a day of slowing down for reflection and renewal. It was law, but it was also therapeutic…kind of like someone in an art museum sitting and staring for a while at a sculpture!

So what if we had a Slow Down Day to the point that some bicycles whizzed by the cars and trucks? We’d know how the cyclists would feel all of the other days of the year. Instead of racing from work, what if people picked up the pace at work and took their time getting home?

Fast food restaurants could close their drive-thru lanes for the day. Jiffy Lube could keep their garage doors closed. Neighbors could schedule an evening walk together around the neighborhood. Baseball, the sport that has recently tried to speed up the game, could go back to its traditional ways of a nice and easy pace. Chess clubs could promote the game that takes thought and vision.

Slow Down Day! Churches could open their sanctuary doors for people to come and meditate! Doctors could slow down and talk to their patients. Families could sit at the dinner table and eat a meal that has been cooked slowly in the crock pot. 

Or…maybe a better idea is that people would just slow down a little bit each and every day so that everyone…everyone!…might feel a little more at ease with the flow of traffic and the flow of life!

Failure To Lunch

March 2, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                              March 2, 2015

                                                  

I’m trying to slow down! Yes, I talked about that last week…and here goes again! If I repeat myself often enough perhaps i’ll start hearing what I’m writing.

I had my moments last week where I remembered my words and fasted from going fast. I sat and pondered at times, did not speed on the ice-covered roads that covered our area, went to bed at decent hours, and even took in a movie with my wife (McFarland).

But there were the other times! I slowed down enough that a cold caught me.

Here’s my challenge this week. Sometimes fasting from going fast isn’t the answers to all the ills and problems. Another challenge for me this week is not just slowing down, it’s also to not pile the plate high with the week’s buffet of things that need to be done.

The excuse that I so often use is that they need to be done! If I don’t do them they won’t get done! As a pastor it’s easy to get whirlpooled into that trap. Every congregation has people within it who think the pastor has all the time in the world and are very free to assign him something else to do. And most pastors are not good at saying no. It’s the Baptist guilt element rising to the surface, that tells us that we can never do enough for Jesus. Baptist pastors have a hard time with those verses in the Bible where Jesus goes off by himself and takes some time to ponder. We can’t relate!

Last week I had one day that was loaded with this, that, and the other…little of which had any eternal value connected to it…and at about 3:00 I realized I had failed to lunch. Perhaps it was the three month old cookie that I consumed at 10:00 that made me forget, but regardless…lunch came and went and I ne’er noticed!

The tyranny of the urgent will always attempt to keep us from caring for our soul!

One good thing that happened last week was a gathering on Wednesday of a pastor’s group that I highly value. We intentionally take time to be still, reflect, pray, and share. It’s called a “Together in Ministry” group, or TIM group, and it causes me to value the sharing with the saints.

Now I come to another week of possibilities and problems, people in need and people in peril. How will I journey through this week? Reflectively? With eyes seeking glimpses of Him? How will I journey through this week with those who I love the most? With the third grandchild due to emerge into this world any day now will I be able to fast from going fast look enough to celebrate a new gift, a new grace?

I’ll let you know…in a while!

Fasting From Being Fast

February 23, 2015

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                         February 23, 2015

                                            

Some people would say that I don’t have to give up “being fast” for Lent. I’ve naturally migrated to that place of slowness. There’s some truth in that…okay, there’s a lot of truth in that. We used to call it “the painful truth.”

But in this season of Lent I’ve been trying to slow down in regards to other areas of my life. Basketball season is always the most hectic, chaotic time of the year for me as I coach two teams, officiate high school games when I’m available (which, my game assignor, this year informed me was not very often!), lead our church’s Buddy Basketball program, while beginning a new year as pastor of a church that is always challenging.

Going fast is a condition for me…kind of like dandruff! A few years ago I took two weeks off after Easter and on Day 14 I finally was slowing my pace.

So I’m intentionally trying to not be fast in the weeks leading up to Easter. How do you do that? I eat soup!

Say what?

I eat soup! It is hard to eat soup fast, especially tomato or chicken noodle. I can’t keep the noodles in the spoon if I try to eat them fast. Soup is a slow food for me…a reminder…to take my time.

I’m also pausing a few times each day to…do nothing…to just sit. I’ve been reading Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. One small detail hit me about Abraham Lincoln. He would often sit in a chair in front of the fireplace with his long legs crossed and ponder…think…for long periods of time.

Lord knows, Lincoln had more things to worry about than I do, but he still slowed his pace to just sit for a while.

“Sitting for a while” brings back pictures of days gone by back in Oil Springs, Kentucky, where my grandfather…Papaw Dewey Helton, would sit in the swing on the front porch in the evening and watch the cars go by. There were also a few cows in the pasture across the road to look at, but it was a slow pace…a time to sit and jaw jack, tell inflated stories, and respond with amazement at other fish tales.

Soup and sit. Two things to remind me to not be fast. You might call them “simmering moments.” A good stew always needs some time to simmer.

I realize that there are other people around me in hyper-mode, who want to speed me up. I was officiating one of our Buddy Basketball games for the youngest age group Kindergarten through 2nd Grade). They run up and down the court like excited puppies at play time. I don’t move much during those games. As I said to someone, “I don’t have to run after them, because any moment now they’ll be coming back in this direction.”

I’m seeking to stay…not rush after what to others seems urgent…not rush to judgment.

Let me tell you! It’s hard. There are certain decisions that need to be made quickly, but most are saturated with the urgency of personal agendas.

I’m letting things simmer…eating the chicken noodle soup of life…and just sitting for a while!

Vacating

July 31, 2013

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                   July 31, 2013

      Carol and I don’t often get away…at least far enough away. Not that I don’t enjoy being a pastor, or enjoy the people of my congregation. It’s really not their problem.

It’s me!

I am not good at unplugging. I find it very difficult to turn off the knob (old technology term) that is labeled “Thinking About What Needs To Be Done.”

It’s like the word association game. Hear a word and say the first word that comes to your mind. For me, however, it’s seeing an object and thinking about a meeting coming up, or a message to be preached. I smell popcorn and think about movies, which makes me think about the video series our small group will be using in the next month, which makes me think about the study guide questions I still need to repair.

Fruit reminds me of communion. Dinner rolls at a restaurant remind me of…communion. I drive along a river and it reminds me of the water restrictions we’re under back home, and whether the sprinklers are properly turned off. I pass a school and I think of the staff appreciation luncheon we do each year at Audubon School down the street from us on the teacher work day they have before the students come back.

See! I’m plugged! It is one thing that Carol is concerned about whenever I retire. Can I really unplug?

In our culture where we are almost always connected by technology (Except on Union Boulevard around Lexington about two miles from our house. Why is it I can get phone reception in Antarctica, but not right here in the midst of civilized technology?), everything seems either urgent or known. If it is known that means it is expected to be put on the fast track to solved. If it is urgent it needs to be accomplished…now!

I get into that mindset of accomplishing tasks, doing the weekly jobs again, and then when a day off comes I’m still checking emails and thinking about the week ahead.

Why is it that we find it hard to vacate? Okay, I’ll use that other word…”rest!” It may say something about our reluctance to slow down and listen. We’re not a very good listening culture. We listen to music…as we’re working. We listen to the radio…as we’re driving. We listen to our kids…as we’re working on our laptop. We listen to the problems of others…as we’re texting someone else about our own problems.

Listening is an undervalued asset. Slowing down is seen as not getting us anyplace.

Perhaps I will try to “vacate” each day this coming month…not for the day, but for a few moments, an evening walk, or just in a quiet place by myself.

It won’t be early in the morning. With a day of tasks ahead it would be a recipe for defeat. Early evening works best for who I am.

I’ll let you know how it goes. For today Carol and I are going to vacate to about five different places that we need to get to.

Uh-oh, that didn’t sound restful, did it?