Some days I think we’re all just like hamsters.
We jump on that little wheel and run, run, run but don’t really get anywhere.
It seems the world keeps spinning faster and faster and I find myself wanting to just jump off.
The speed of life keeps increasing when all I want to do is slow down.
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” ~Mohandas Gandhi
Case in point. I live in a rural area outside of a very small town. You would think that life in these parts would be lived at a slower pace. We’re less than an hour away from a large city, but our roads aren’t too congested with traffic.
But drive on any of our area roads – either the four-lane highway, two-lane roads, or even our back country roads – and someone is pushing you along from behind, tail-gating you even when you’re driving the speed limit or higher. Cars zoom past even when there are no safe passing zones.
On my way to work, my quickest route is a highway. Each day, cars whip by me in the passing lane like I’m standing still. Don’t they know that speed kills?
Just recently, three car accidents resulted on one stretch of that highway in one week’s time. Now we have had more than our share of wintry, snowy, icy weather, but that particular week, the weather was warmer, there was no rain/sleet/snow and the sun was actually shining.
So the accidents could not have been blamed on weather conditions. And they couldn’t even be blamed on other inattentive drivers because all three crashes were one-vehicle incidents.
One was a pick-up truck that was literally smashed on all sides and all of the air-bags were blown out. How on earth did that person cause a one-vehicle accident like that on a straight stretch of a four-lane highway with very little traffic (and no dead deer in sight either)?
I have to believe it was speeding.
So that got me to thinking. Speed kills. Not just literally by driving too fast on the highway, but in other areas of our lives as well.
We used to communicate by spending time together in meaningful conversations. Now we send short and immediate text messages instead.
We used to put our thoughts down with pen on paper, sign our name, address an envelope, and send our loved ones and friends a letter. Now we dust off a quick email and it instantaneously arrives in their virtual mailbox.
We used to wait for the newspaper to be delivered to our home to read about the latest news. Now we just log into our computers and scan what latest items some web site deems newsworthy or check everyone’s statuses on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.
We want everything faster and immediately from our food to our health test results. And we want it now! I’ve fallen into this speed trap more times than I’d like to confess.
Hubby and I were out for dinner one evening and our waitress was a tad slow in taking our order, then we waited quite a while for our food to arrive. I started to complain out loud to my husband, but caught myself and stopped.
But I could tell hubby was getting agitated. So I asked him, “Why are we in such a big hurry? We’re just going home after this.”
And it was true. We weren’t in a time-crunch. We had nowhere to arrive on time. Nothing to hurry for. So why was the wait so unbearable?
The truth is, it wasn’t. As we gulp our food and rush off to wherever we think we have to be, we’re forgotten how to be patient. We’ve lost the art of slowing down and truly enjoying life.
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” ~Will Rogers
When I was a kid there was a popular saying, “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Sometimes I feel just like that. Stop the rat race, I don’t want to run it. Stop the sprint, I want a marathon.
Slow down. That’s what I want to do. Slow down and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation. Slow down and spend time in actual conversations with those I love. Slow down and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park. Slow down and enjoy this life I’ve been given.
And just to confirm that my thoughts were on target, I received this email from an acquaintance that I don’t see very often any more. Earlier in the week, I had suggested we get together soon to catch up with how life’s treating us. Her response was, ‘Yes, let’s get together! Life is too short not to make time.”
So today, on this best day of the year, I’m reminding myself that speed really does kill. It kills patience, it kills conversations, it even can kill friendships.
“Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.” ~ Nancy Simms