Monday, November 12, 2007

Slow Down

Why am I in such a hurry? Why can't I slow things down a bit and appreciate what is happening all around me?

To be quite honest, it all begins with my morning. I am not a morning person - AT ALL. I usually prefer to avoid conversation until at least 9 or 10 a.m. And, because I am not a morning person, I try to squeeze in every last second of sleep that I can before I finally moan and flail my way out from under the covers. It has become a daily ritual.

But, while this ritual may seem relatively harmless, it actually has become very destructive for me and likely those in my path each morning. When I allow my laziness to get the best of me, it sets my day on a fast downhill slope. What is a better word for this slope? HURRY.

I hurry to get a shower, shave, and get dressed in 10 minutes time. I do this so quickly because I have to then hurry and make up the bed. In turn, I then have to hurry to wake up my 7 year old, and get him dressed. Then, I have to hurry to make up his bed and put away his pajamas. Then, I have to hurry to get him breakfast (there's a reason Kellogg's created Pop-Tarts). I then have to hurry back upstairs and wake up his 3 year old brother. Then I whisk them both down to the basement, where I then hurry to get 7 year old to school and the 3 year old to Nana's house. Man...I'm out of breath just typing this!

All because of an extra 10 minutes of sleep. All because I am selfish and unwilling to change my routine. And, there's honestly few things I loathe more than being in a hurry. I get stressed. I get in a panic. I can't enjoy life.

John Ortberg, perhaps my favorite author, says in order to truly live the life God has planned for us, we must "ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives." Those are some strong words.

Recently, I can remember packing for a vacation. It was the night before we were leaving, and I found myself almost hyperventilating as I was trying to untangle some wires and cords for our kids' portable DVD player. I suddenly recalled Ortberg's words of wisdom, and I stopped. I took a deep breath and began to actually untangle the knots rather than making them worse. I felt like I was moving in super slow-mo. And, it was great. My heart rate slowed, my breathing became regular, and my mind was sharper.

What if I could always live this way? What if I didn't have to hurry all the time? What if I gave myself a cushion of a few minutes throughout my day so I could enjoy the company of others more?

I now realize that when I am in a hurry, it doesn't just affect me. It affects those all around me - my kids, my co-workers, the other drivers in my path. I need to slow down. Because life already happens too fast, and I don't want to miss any more of it than I have to.

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