On one of the first warm spring days last year a group of us were enjoying lunch on the lawn at a friend’s home. I sat chatting with another guest – a man well into his 80s on holiday in Perth with his wife.
The man had been telling me about an airplane he had built and he was fishing around in his wallet for a photograph of the plane. He came across another photo before he found the one of the airplane that he was actually looking for. He passed the accidently discovered photo over to me saying
When I was a little girl, about four years old, I had to go into hospital to have my adenoids removed.
Now I was four years old quite a long time ago! Back in the days before parents were allowed to spend uncomfortable nights in armchairs by their children’s hospital beds. Back in the times before day surgery; when even relatively minor procedures meant a week or more in hospital.
My dad took me to the hospital and I can still summon up the horrifying image of his back as he walked away from me down what seemed to be an impossibly long ward. I can still hear my own wail as I leapt out of my hospital bed and raced after him.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
You might be an extrovert if you love talking and whether or not you know another person is neither here nor there when it comes to starting a conversation with them. You might be an extrovert if you call out to a total stranger in the shopping centre, “hey, I really like your dress”.
You might be an extrovert if your favourite antidote to a really tough week at work is to text your entire contact list on your way home, saying, “party at mine tonight”.
If that doesn’t sound much like you – perhaps you are an introvert. At the end of a tough week would it energise you to hold an impromptu party at your place or would you rather drill holes in your eyeballs? Would you in fact be more refreshed by some time alone with a good book or your favourite movie or a quiet dinner with a couple of close friends?
Hey, what do you do when you are super anxious?
When I am feeling worried or overwhelmed I develop unrealistic expectations and I get snippy! I develop unrealistic expectations and get snippy over the smallest of things; over things that are really of no great consequence. Things that didn’t worry me a day ago and certainly won’t worry me in a few days’ time! Suddenly these things scream at me for attention and I feel like they must be dealt with immediately – that’s the ‘unrealistic expectations’ part.
Most of us don’t need anyone to tell us that we live hurried lives. Hurried lives are more than busy lives. Hurried lives are preoccupied lives because we always have the next thing we have to do in our heads and so we are not present in the current moment.
Have you ever had a small child put a hand on either side of your face to make you stop and look at them?
Have you ever arrived home with no clear memory of the journey?
Have you ever felt like your head will quite literally explode if you try and stuff in one more conversation or request or thought?
These things are often indicators of a hurried life!
I had an eye-opening moment a while back.
I had taken some long service leave - 6 weeks to live life without going to work. Wonderful!
It took me a while to slow down!
I knew that I had been living a hurried life before I went on leave and I know that a hurried life has its costs … but the way I figured things I was still spending time with my husband and children and grandchildren and getting to see some friends and family; I was still getting into the garden and craft room – still living life.
But as I slowed down my view of the life I was living started to change. Things began to look different.
I was falling off to sleep one night when this picture came into my head.
When you drive on the freeway at 100 km an hour you still see things out of the car window. At 100 km an hour you can still see trees, buildings, other cars, even people in the other cars.
But at 100 km an hour the detail of what you see is pretty poor. You can quickly glance at the person in a car in the next lane when you are travelling fast. But when you are stopped at the traffic lights you can get a much better look at your neighbour and that view improves even more if you get out of your car and climb into theirs – I am not recommending you actually do that on the freeway – but you get my point!
I realised that I had been convincing myself I could travel at 100 km an hour and still be relationally present with people; still genuinely ‘see’ the people in my life.
When in fact all I was doing was glancing in the direction of those I cared about most!
Something I had read a while ago came back to me, “The rhythm of work and ceasing work is written into the very core of our being.”
It’s how God made us – to work for a while and then rest for a while – to leave the freeway regularly and take a drive at a speed more suitable for a country laneway. God has made us to work and to take time to rest from our work, enjoying the people we live with and the world we live in.
When we keep that rhythm, we are much more likely to stay connected with God and each other so that even when we are busy we know how to live fully in the moment.
Over the next week or so why not take notice of your speed. 100 km is fine on the freeway but the freeway is no place to live 24/7.