Monday, June 21, 2010
When busy meets slow
I suppose this could be called "further ponderings of Sunday Afternoon Tea"... either that or proof we are an Equal Opportunity Ponderer. Yesterday's musings were about circumstances in our life bringing us to living a life which is... slower.
As I wrote it, I was thinking of all the people I know who read this blog who have no options other than a busy life... those who are called to full time work and ministry. Thus... today's further ponderings.
I've been remembering those times in my life when there were seasons of crazy busy. We all have had them... whether with a full time job, school schedules, athletics, volunteer and church work, taking care of babies, being a caregiver for one who is ill, farmers and gardeners in spring through fall... you get the idea.
It was during my corporate years that I learned the necessity of balance in my life. Since I love to cook, my only hobby I took time for was gourmet cooking. It may sound strange but on the weekend, I enjoyed spending hours cooking. I relaxed as I was alone in the kitchen (my work always involved being surrounded by lots of people) and my family appreciated the yummy results... truly a win-win situation. :)
Stephanie had a friend with a busy professional schedule. Her refuge was her sewing room in her home. Although I didn't receive the sewing gene (nether did my mother or daughter), I can understand how the process would take one's mind away from that part of their life for which they had little control. Slow balanced busy...
When we spend too much time on the gerbil wheel of life, never having time in our days for anything which requires us to slow down and ponder, we end up years down the road looking back and wondering where the time went.
My eventual decision to leave the corporate life came on a business trip to San Francisco, as I looked at the beauty around me. Suddenly I knew I did not want to share my life with co-workers... but with my husband and daughter... no matter how much I enjoyed my work.
Expectations run high in our society. Yes, there are those who are called to be salt and light in the workforce but to what extent do we fill our days with work and never slow down to "stop and smell the roses"... or knit a scarf, arrange flowers, listen to music, read a book for recreation, really talk to a child, or enjoy an hour on the deck with a cup of tea and a devotional.
I believe this is what Swenson is talking about in his wonderful book called Margin (highly recommended). In past generations, people were forced to slow down as much was done by hand. The busy mother spent hours preparing a meal and sewing clothing by hand (later with that wonderful invention, the sewing machine). Unless one was wealthy, this was the way families were clothed and fed.
Farmers planted seed by hand and pruned fruit trees one branch at a time. Society depended on craftsmen and women whose work came... slowly. Slowing down was not the decision it is today, it was a way of life.
So, why are these ponderings so important to me right now that I spend two days writing about them? Because I'm seeing so many families who don't realize they have hopped on society's electronic treadmill with the gears set to fast. They spend their twenty-four hours each day without really living their days. They do not realize that a full calendar does not equal success in life.
It honestly does not seem like much time has gone by since I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital but I look back now as a grandmother. Life passes quickly but we live it one day and one decision at a time. My prayer is we all know the difference between pure gold and fools gold... and choose life.
Picture: Globe basil in my garden