After eight slow days on the “mountain” with God, I wanted to maintain a more leisurely pace back in the valley of the shadow of life.
I took a hard look at my calendar and wondered how I was going to do everything without rushing. In addition to my usual work, I had promised to help my friend move. He had been homeless for a while and now finally found a place nearby. He didn’t have much; I could fit most of what he had temporarily stored at the church into my car. So I thought this would be a half-hour job.
The operative word here is “most.” What didn’t fit in had to be attached to a bike trailer that he built while I waited. The man’s an absolute genius with what he can construct with a set of tools and stuff destined for the dump. But it ended up taking four hours and there was nothing I could do but watch and wait.
Yet I sensed God knew that. God was fully aware of all I needed to do and–with divine wisdom–had decided I could afford to spend the afternoon this way. So I relaxed a little and went with the flow. The next day our contemplative group reflected on God’s expansive love.
What came to me in the silence was that I had joined God in loving our friend, and that meant a lot to both of them. I didn’t feel it at the time I was helping him; I had felt bored and impatient. But afterwards, when I saw the smile on my friend’s face, I felt good.
“Slow down,” God says when I am tempted to rush. “Trust me. Everything will get done on time.”
So I’m trying to engage my slow-twitch muscles. I’m taking time to listen longer to others and to myself while I bike places instead of driving. I’ve noticed that I begrudge the time it takes to prepare a meal or tidy my things. Perhaps I could learn to enjoy these activities instead.
Meanwhile, God, like a crossing guard, holds back the traffic of my life with one hand, halts the oncoming world with the other, and says, “Don’t rush her. She’s doing important work here.”
Let me serve love with my strength this day,
let me serve love with my strength.
In heart and mind and body this day
let me serve love.
— J. Philip Newell