Where does your 24-7 go? Into the future? Become a part of your past? All I know is that it mostly seems to disappear and disappear way too quickly. I design a great plan for the week and then it’s Thursday and my plan looks like a train wreck! Priority one for Monday slippin’ into Tuesday, time with my sister on Tuesday slippin’ into Wednesday, scooping the kitty litter every day hop skip and jumping over into Friday, and so on.
Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future. This first line of a Steve Miller Band song has haunted me ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in there, but I have been fascinated by Ann’s statement below: Giving thanks is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention. Giving thanks and using gratitude journals has been a good idea since Oprah popularized it, and millions of you guys (including me) have started and stopped and started again writing down all the things we have to be thankful for. And it works! It does give you perspective, a beautifully soulful perspective, on the mostly mundane lives we lead. We are blessed to live where we do, to have the ability to build relationships of love with friends and family, to enjoy some of the finer things in life.
And we all have hiccups … jumps and starts and rewinding, a lot. Not every day seems like a blessing, but going with it anyway, going with it until it changes, going with it until we decide to go for it can be a good outcome from this new perspective. Ann talks about slowing time down. Is it enough to walk more leisurely through our life, would that make a difference? The tortoise always beats the hare in the fable. A slowly plodding, sleepy, lethargic turtle. Hmmm … not the picture your friends or your mom ambitious for you or social media paints for life. The hare is the cool one, the charismatic one, his hip-hop rhythm enticing and seemingly triumphant.
But he doesn’t win the race. The tortoise goes slow … stops to smell the “whatever” … stops to take a nap … and yet somehow has enough time to win the race. Examine your day. See how your rabbit race runs. I’m usually so busy trying to keep my schedule going that I don’t think I have time to really talk to my sister or stroke my cats. I hop onto my new website for the few minutes I allot to it, hoping something that needs to be fixed or added will jump out at me. I “strategically” call my mom five minutes before I need to rush out and it limits the time spent but also limits an intimate connection that would make the call worthwhile. I get to church right when the sermon starts, but miss talking to folks beforehand and can’t stop looking at my phone during the sermon, so I get the point on electronic paper, but sometimes my heart misses it. We instinctively know the best way to live is to enjoy and savor all that we are blessed with.
Even in the midst of transition or crisis or strife, a few moments of thankfulness can calm our heartbeat and clear our mind. Slowing our bodies and thoughts can give us more time to think clearly about what we are doing. This time pulls us back where we can see the big picture, make less mistakes and act more intentionally. We can see the place for change; we can move forward with confidence.
Look for Part Two in a few days … How has giving thanks and slowing down time helped you? Please share what you have learned, or want to learn, with all of us.