Hurry Up and Slow Down!
When I was a young boy, my grandfather thought my Dad was always on the go and that he never took time to smell the roses. And Grandpa was right. Dad was always going somewhere and rarely did he sit idly by and do nothing. He loved watching baseball, if that counts, but it was usually while he did book work or some other accounting stuff for his small business or when he paid the bills with Mom. I can still see him using his brown fountain pen with the gold cap – he always wrote checks with that pen… and he never used ball point pens unless it was absolutely necessary.
So every time that I went to Grandpa’s house, he would deliberately take his time when we would do chores together. He would always tell me to “hurry up and slow down.” We would grease the chains on the big Locke lawnmower that he had for years. Or we would sharpen his pruning shears on the grinding wheel in his basement. Or a broom handle would break and rather than going out to buy a new one, he and I would make one on his lathe. And when he really wanted a chance to speak with me about the pace of life, we would change the old newspaper that he used as drawer lining in his chest of tools. I hated that job, but every couple of years, we used to do it – slow and steady. As a young teenager, I finally started to grasp the idea. Constantly, methodically, like dripping water, he would teach me to slow down and just go with the rhythms of life. In fact, I feel myself getting a little calmer just remembering those days with Grandpa.
I guess I have a little of Dad’s restlessness in me as well. I pack my life pretty full and don’t really like it when things don’t line up the way I think they should. What brought this all to a head today is that I am sitting in the Admiral’s Club of American Airlines in Terminal C of Dallas Fort Worth Airport – anxious to return home. My flight was supposed to take off around 1:15 pm and I have been notified that the flight hasn’t left Atlanta yet. So the earliest it will head out is 1:49 – no, just got an email from AA – it’s now 2:05 pm. And to make matters worse, I am waiting to see if I am going to be upgraded to first class, but it isn’t looking too good right now. Oops, another note from AA – now it’s 2:12 pm for scheduled take-off.
There are three seats open in first class and, you guessed it, I’m number four. So I have my regular coach seat assignment and am holding out hope that I may still get the upgrade by some miracle. What’s interesting to me is how agitated I get when planes are late, or there isn’t enough time to get from one gate to the next one during a connection. It has gotten so bad that I try to never sit in the back of the plane because it takes so long for people to get off the flights. This is exacerbated, of course, by the amount of carry on luggage that everyone brings to avoid the baggage charges for checking it through.
You can tell that I’m a little amped up about airline travel. It just isn’t nearly easy as it used to be and the fares keep going up, and up and up. And it’s not just airline travel – I realize that I have moved away from the basics of just living life and slowing down to smell the roses. I find at times that I wish my life away. I am so anxious to get things done that when they are completed, I look around the room trying to find something else to worry about. That’s just got to stop. It just creates too much stress.
So, I’m just going to sit back and try to relax as I wait for the plane. After all, safety is the most important issue here and even if I get stranded overnight, God forbid, then I’ll get home tomorrow. God knows my need and He will make sure that I am there for the things that are the most important.
The verse for today is from Acts 19:36. I had to chuckle a little to myself when I remembered it. After all, people who know me well realize that I can get pretty agitated when things aren’t going the way I would like. Luke tells us in his book of Acts, “Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash.” What facts are these? Well, the story was about the men of Ephesus and they were angry about things that were happening. Without going into too much detail, suffice it to say that they couldn’t change the facts of the situation and therefore, were admonished to be quiet and not react in a rash way.
That’s what I need to do – remain peaceful. My encouragement today is that God will speak to your heart and let you know which things are worth getting amped up about. The rest of it isn’t worth the effort. My prayer is that you may enjoy the peace that comes from the Father and His Son – a truly divine peace that is definitely worth the effort. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…