Saturday, September 27, 2014

Slow Down!

Always on the move. 
Can't relax. 
Can't slow down. 
This is the way a friend of mine described herself.
So what DO you slow down for? I asked.
She seemed a little confused by my question, but thought about it for a minute and then responded:

The ocean...

It made me think.
What do I slow down for?
If you know me, I am a person on the move. Like my Dad, I am always "up to something" and will probably die in motion. Thankfully, he hasn't died. Not even close. He is definitely still in motion--still teaching, leading, singing, hiking, writing, reading and doing all the things he has always done, only he's in his 70's, has diabetes, a bad heart and just got out of the hospital for throwing out his back. How did he throw out his back you ask? Yeah, you guessed it--in motion. Golfing. At least he wasn't ski-jumping.

Anyway, here are a few things I slow down for:
To connect with people I like/love
To write
To read
To see the sunrise/sunset/ocean
To pray
To laugh
To pet my dog (or yours!)

Slow down because life is short.
The older I get the shorter life feels.When I was a child, life seemed stretched out before me in a endless sea of soccer games, school assignments, first dates, college classes and beyond...I'm in my forties now and I wonder where did all that time go?! Yes, life is short! But does that make me feel like rushing or slowing down?

Life is short...
WOW! I better get moving! 
There's not enough time for everything! Places to go! People to meet!
Life is short. 
WOW! I better slow down!
I need to make time for what and who is really important.

Interesting how that little life axiom can work either way.

I think you can tell a lot about a person by what, who--they slow down for. You can tell what/who they treasure, value and think is important. If someone watched what I slowed down for today what would they say? Would I be proud or ashamed? Probably a little of both. So much of what or who needs my "slow down time" gets pushed aside by the URGENT. Work has a way of being a priority whether I want it to be or not. Everything seems to be a "rush job." Last minute meetings and changes come up constantly. Then, there are the people who demand my time whether I have it to give or not. However, in the end, despite a full inbox, interruptions and back-to-back meetings, it is my responsibility to "make time" for what is truly important. I'll admit, it is difficult for me to lift my led foot off the accelerator and apply the brakes. I am fighting my genes, remember?

I have a hat that says, "Life is Good." It really is! I feel so blessed and have so many reasons to slow down. The other day, I slowed down at work to really connect with people, listen to them, and it was one of the best days I'd had in a long time. I learned that one of my co-workers has an incredible amount of heart and courage. Another was frustrated and needed support. Someone else was feeling more positive about her current situation, but cautious. A young staff member of mine was anxious about a job prospect and needed my help. One of my co-workers fished for a compliment so I gave her one. She smiled like I had just handed her gift. I had. I had given her the gift of "slowing down"--a gift that showed her she is important to me. And she is.
I need to do that more. Slow down.
I don't want to be on a what feels like a run-a-way bus barreling through life, peeling out around corners, screeching through stop signs, searching for the emergency turn-out while yelling, "No brakes! No brakes!"
Slow me down, God. Put me on the scenic tour bus--the one that slows down to stop for the important stuff like special people, breathtaking views...oh, and lunch.

Hope A. Horner, 2014
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