I have this theme running through my mind and my life. This feeling that speed is required, necessary, vital to my days. Whenever I try to slow down, not rush, not run; I am late. I don’t like to be late, but I can’t seem to find the balance. If I move at my personal pace I arrive nowhere when I need to be there. If I move at the pace of life, I rush my children and feel frantic and crazed. I am constantly tipped to one extreme or the other.
I’ve been slowing more often as of late and I have stopped apologizing for it. I have reminded myself that part of the problem is that I am simply not made for this world. I mean this on at least two different levels. First, I feel that I was not made for this modern-age, I am slower, I feel overwhelmed by all-of-the-things. I can not function well in the chaos, clutter, and speed of today. When I try to run at the pace required of the modern American mother I feel rundown, worn out, exhausted. I am choosing not to live there. I’m choosing to follow my own rhythm and when I do, I feel peace in my soul. There is no sense for me in choosing to live full tilt, not because I fear the pace and not because I can’t do it, but because it isn’t me. Why should I run on the sidewalk when my very being calls to me to wander the dirt paths?
Furthermore, I feel that I was not made for this earth as I, like C.S. Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity”, have desires that this earthly life simply can not meet, and I must keep pressing on to that next place where my desire will be made whole and I will find satisfaction in the Lord. My hope is in the Lord and I know that this world will never fully be my home. That in this life I will have to push past the needs of now for the needs of eternity. This is a feeling that has been growing more and more lately, I’ve quoted 1 John 2:15 to my teenagers multiple times over the years as a reminder to them that more of the world is not what they need. To beg them to think for themselves, to walk their own road, to trust that all of the niceties of this earth are worthless. Really though this verse means something else to me, though I’ve used it with the hope that they will be guilted into being good. (I don’t need a lecture on why that’s a bad idea, I know it doesn’t work, but sometimes a momma does what she can in the moment okay?!)
When I read this verse in the Message Bible I read, “Don’t love the worlds ways. Don’t love the worlds goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with your Father. It just isolates you from Him. The world and all of its wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” I know this is true, what the world wants from me seems to beat me down. Even though it’s packaging is shiny and the opportunities offered sound good, the more I work at the speed the world asks me to the further I feel from the Lord. The isolation becomes greater when I fill my life up with all of the opportunities this world offers.
I choose not to do this. I choose slow, I choose deliberate, I choose consciousness!
I’m trying anyway. There are still days where my large family requires that I meet the scheduled demands, and it gets a little crazy. That is to be expected I suppose. When we have those days on our calendar with no white space left, I try not to feel frantic. I look for the moments in my other days where I can borrow the slow. I beg grace from friends who seem to understand that I love them even though I am perpetually running behind. I sit still in the quiet of the morning, reading, writing, reminding myself that if this life is a race I need to run? It’s still not a race where coming to the finish line first will cause me to be called the winner. I can pace myself. I can even stop and sit awhile when I feel caught up in the pack.
Making this choice for slow gives me peace. I’ll continue in it until it no longer does. This constant re-learning, this process of becoming, this good work of knowing oneself…it is hard and holy work. I am grateful that I can walk down this back road, picking daisies as I go, trusting that I’ll get where I’m going exactly when I need to be there.