Why It’s Good to Walk Slow

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I walk slow. Slow enough to really feel my life. Slow enough to notice the asters that have gone to seed. The honey crisp apples mottled in shades of yellow and red. That one fuzzy caterpillar on the leaf.

Slow enough to enjoy my kid’s wild laughter out there in the yard. To catch a glimpse of Hope’s eyes as she runs and the way her hair bounces as she bounds along in her pink Crocs. Slow enough to pay attention to my soul. I’ve been reading this book where John Ortberg asks Dallas Willard about the one thing he would recommend that could bring new energy into Ortberg’s spiritual life.

Dallas Willard looked him in the eye and said,

“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

It’s hard to calm ourselves down, sometimes. The world rushes. Tweets fly. Status updates are a steady stream. Words whirl. People wake up and blink and begin again this frantic pace. Our souls have trouble keeping up with our bodies. We check the time and hasten on to the next thing.

It’s hard for us to focus. To fully engage in conversation. We’ve got emails to check. Tasks to mark off. Other people to see.

This last week, my Granny Bonnie went on to heaven so I flew home to be with my family. It was good to just sit next to them and simply be. In moments like this, I realize it’s relationship that heals us. Time together means the most. When people pass from this fleeting life, no one much cares how many books they read. Or how clean their house was kept. Or how far they made it up that corporate ladder.

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People just remember whether or not you walked slow. Slow enough to pay attention. Slow enough to look them in the eyes. Slow enough to tell them your story and ask about theirs. To spend time with them, to smile their way and speak into their life. Slow enough to care about their heart and to give them yours.

The other day as I was going along, something beautiful and strange happened.

My friend began telling me a story. At first, I’ll admit, I didn’t fully realize the significance of the moment. So, my thoughts trailed off as they began, but then I became aware that this was no ordinary conversation. And in that instance, I realized, this person so precious, who had never shared anything so vulnerably with me before was actually handing me over a part of their very heart. I looked up and into thier eyes and noticed that tears began to flow.

I would have missed out on the gift of their heart had I not calmed myself down enough to pay attention. We give people their dignity when we walk slow.

And when we lessen our pace, our souls find rest in God. Yes, there are moments that are urgent when we should hurry. Sometimes we do have emergencies, but hustle and bustle was never supposed to be our default.

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We were never meant to live fatigued and constantly bombarded with the craziness of crowds and the whirl of words surging through the glow of screens. Our souls grow sick and weary unless we learn to carve out solitude and live unhurried lives with God.

It’s going slow that helps us better live in harmony with our Maker and the world. And in going slow, we make room for what really matters. Relationship. Carving out time to just be with others–to listen to their story, that one they can’t seem to get out without the tears.

So, I walk slow. Slow enough to notice the way rain gathers on the grass and to thank God for this–a heart that beats like His. And eyes that care enough to see.

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

1 Comment

  1. by gie butler on October 20, 2014  11:03 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing, these words touches me and it is very true we need to take a moment to realize the real meaning of life, to take time to cherish and enjoy the God's gift to us which is love and having "each other" the relationship we build around us.

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