Have you ever held a smooth pebble in your pocket? I often find one or two in mine, souvenirs from beach or river walks with the children. I love holding them and turning them over in the palm of my hand, these small, smooth tokens that have travelled years and distances until time and water have brought them here, into my pocket.
Lately, I’ve been turning a few words around in my mind and heart in much the same way. These are old, strong words, with stories to tell and secrets to offer. They are words I want to dwell on, words that calm me, words I want to live by.
The first of these is SLOW. I need this word in my life right now. I have to say it to myself as I breathe in deeply. Slow is the song that soothes my frenetic, anxious, shame-filled thoughts. You know those thoughts that say “I must do this… I must get that in order… People must think this… There’s so much I haven’t done…”? These thoughts can be crowding, suffocating, but then I breathe deeply and I turn that word over in my mind and I realise that SLOW is not just ok, not just enough, it’s better.
I want to live slowly enough to stop and play with my children, to really listen to them instead of hurrying them along. I want to live slowly enough to turn off on a detour through a flower covered graveyard at my daughter’s whim, to actually see the yellow celandine covering that place of rest in bright hope. I want to live slowly enough to notice the birdsong, to sit and think and remember, to contemplate, imagine, plan and dream. I want to live slowly enough to do less, better. It’s in slow living that I can pray with all my heart for the people I’ve spoken to that morning or others who are on my mind. It’s in slow living that I can have a proper conversation on the phone. When I am slow, my children have time and space to play and rest and connect. When I am slow, I pay more attention. I like building my business ever so slowly and thoughtfully. I am learning to celebrate the one job I’ve done well in a day, rather than berating myself for all the jobs I’ve not done.
Slow works best when there is also trust. Trust that all will be well. Trust that God is good. Trust that he will provide, comfort, work things out for good.When I trust him, I am free to live slowly and prayerfully, playfully and kindly and lovingly.
Lord, forgive me when I succumb to anxiety and fear and the pressure to hurry and succeed. Lord forgive me when I miss things that are worth my time and attention. Lord, help me to trust enough to embrace SLOW.