one word. a challenge. a blog trend. accountability to live life with intention. pick a word. words. words. words. I avoided this last year. It kind of felt like my idea of getting a tattoo. I can't just pick something and get it inked for skin remembrance. Stained deep for life. A tattoo would have to mean something. An image impactful and life giving. I've yet to think of such a perfect depiction to set on my body. Picking a word felt like that last year. I came short of anything decisive that I would mark 2013 with. This year, I'm humbled under the weight of a word.
A little lost for a compass in this new world of two tiny people who call me mom--I grasp for time and come up with shaggy fistfuls of hurry ups and not enoughs. I get frustrated. I get bitter. I get self righteous indignation towards those who rob me of time. I've turned inward seeking alone time, away from the world and the wants and demands of anyone who dare make requests in my direction. I don't have time. So I just... shut down... or move quickly to get to the next task in hopes of making up enough time to have a little left over at the end of a day.
A friend unmet (she has no idea who I am, but I've officially given her the label), Ann Voskamp writes this:
Time is a relentless river. It rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all there. I can slow the torrent by being all here. I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment. And when I'm always looking for the next glimpse of glory, I slow and enter. And time slows. Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time's river slows, slows, slows.
I've always done things fast (well, unless it comes to cleaning my room). I talk fast. Like, really super fast. I think my grandfather probably just nearly gave up trying to understand me. I'm hard to keep up with. I talk fast and I think fast. My grandfather called me a busy bee. I take flight all too quickly from one thing to the next and from one idea to another. To keep on the bee analogy, I far too often leave ungathered pollen in my stead. I don't drain the flower of what it has to offer. The nectar hastily drops from my possession, never fully claimed as my own, and goes to waste.
And when life moments make me feel weak--when I have the "what is going on!" moments--I all the more work to speed them through to completion. But in those moments, be it stress or pain or broken heartedness, I want to gather all the pollen. I want to slow. Take time. Be in the moment. Suck out all the nectar. Because it is there. And even in "those" moments, the nectar is sustaining. Because this is life. It is a beautifully designed life that carries no happenstance or twisted merit-based punishments.
The clock ticks slow. I hear it for what it is: good and holy. Time, what God first deemed holy above all else (Genesis 2:3). Thank God for the time, and very God enters that time, presence hallowing it. True, this, full attention slows time and I live the full of the moment, right to outer edges. But there's more. I awake to I AM here. When I'm present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God. In His embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and... holy.
And then I look at my children. My desperate desire to know them. Not just who they are now, but who they will be. All will take place here in time and space. That frustrating battle of wanting to keep them small and watch them grow. When there is a potty accident, I've counted to three for the fifteenth time, I'm woken in the night for the fourth time, cleaned stains off the wall, or had my own plans changed in a moment I find myself pleading with the future to come. But, how dare I wish away the now! The beautiful now.
Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.
--Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God (quoted in OTG)
Slow is so foreign to me. I frustrate with slow. Waiting is not my strong suit. So what does slow look like? What does twenty fourteen, the year of slow, look like? My friend Ann would say it looks like eucharisteo, giving thanks. In every moment.
I pick up a coat and thank God for the arms that can do it. Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events -- but is anything under the sun unexpected to God? I call a son back and hand him a hanger and thank God that he can do this too. Stay calm, enter the moment, give thanks. I thank God for boots and we line them straight and the little hands help. And I can always give thanks because an all-powerful God always has all these things -- all things -- always under control. I breath deep and He preaches to me, soothing the time-frenzied soul with the grace river in whisper.Life is not an emergency. Life is eucharisteo....
Is this what the life experts know?That in Christ, urgent means slow.That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence.
So this is me. This busy bee who far to often takes flight without reveling in the flower. This is me wanting to slow. To be in the moment and give thanks that in ALL things a gracious heavenly father who is not constrained by time and who has conquered death is working for my good. A perfectly designed life. He calls me to the now. He says slow.
So I will pray slow and breath slow and close my eyes with hands turned upwards slow. I will kiss my husband slow, do laundry slow, hold and raise my children slow.
I will slow.
And I will gain.