Slowing down. It’s that breathing space as you bathe, the depth we find on a relaxing holiday, the comfort of a coffee cup. The sweet melody to our ears as we lean in and lend an ear, that reflection you come to on a really long walk. That profoundness when you really let a book soak in. But what if this level of depth didn’t have to be a fleeting moment which passes us by, just long enough for us to notice it, what if it could be a way of life? What if slowing down was actually the place of quality and depth and not the place of missing out?
There is so much crying out for our attention, whispering its importance, heeding its value, and boasting its longevity. It is difficult sometimes to hear above the noise we are so easily drawn into. We sometimes come to a place of overwhelment, seeking solace in tears or outbursts. But surely it should not need to reach that place of desperation for our minds to finally shout out “enough”. What if we have it all wrong?
What if our pursuit for productivity in activity was actually the backwards of that which we aim to attain? Perhaps our indulgence in more is actually at the detriment of less; creating a production line of shallow existing instead of fullness in the wisdom of one thing, fewer things. If pace really does matter, we may be deceived, existing in a rollercoaster of frantic busyness, at the expense of life to the full in slowing our step. But can it really be done? We think of the tasks we rally to achieve, the deadlines which pressurise us to overwork, the commitments we’ve made, and too often disregard the possibility as an idealistic fantasy. After all, can we really afford to cut out, strip back, make time and slow down?
Jesus Christ lived in the perimeter of an intimate company of small villages. He lived exposed, slowed down enough to be seen, and walking as a means of pace. Jesus was slowed down enough to know faces, to remember names, to allow people to gather, to identify needs, and to grasp the precision of timing. Yet Jesus lost nothing, as we walk with Him through Scripture, we witness a life so rich and abundant; full. We see a man that was so attentive, knowing, wise and profound, and never seemed to miss opportunities. He seemed to have time enough for everything we long for, never neglecting the important things. His life revolutionised the world; still we never see him rush, pass anyone by, or strive to gather more.
His pace appeared to increase His life, not steal from it. Maybe there is a reality much deeper that we are missing. Perhaps in our pursuit for redefinement and reproduction, speed and efficiency, and improvement and change, our culture has shifted and suffered loss as it has aspired to develop. Maybe it’s time to reevaluate, reestablish and re-perceive what our lives are about and whether the way we run is in fact the way of the fittest. Seeking to ascertain what is setting our pace and driving us, may release us to reap fullness.
Could we be quickening our step in order to run away from those things which we fear? In fact so empty, and our souls so parched, that to be in constant motion is the perishing place of the thirsty. Filling our time with to do lists for our sense of value, squandering time on social media to feel connected on the move. Driving from place to place in an exhilarating rush, at the expense of numbing the senses and our awareness to the detail which ruthlessly passes us by. Packing our time so that we can safely push back dinner dates, coffee cups, long walks, and all levels of intimacy; freezing at the thought of being known and to know. Modifying our houses into show rooms instead of a lived in refuges, not daring to invite guests unless it is pre-organised and prepared. Are we so rigid and lacking, unable to entertain spontaneity?
Yet ironically, such questioning can never truly be given thought or answered properly, without a pause. Stopping long enough to let our bodies catch up with our spirits, our minds rested enough to know, and our hearts stilled enough to feel. The challenge will remain whether we are brave enough to test its waters or not. It takes trust to go against the grain, and perseverance to maintain, but if slowing down really does bring life, is it really at such a cost?