I think it was Archibald Hart who pointed out that because we are so accustomed to moving pedal to the metal in our own world, the thing we overlook in the Gospels are all of the in-between times when Christ and his followers were walking from one town to another. When the record states, “The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee,” (John 1:43) we project our own pace upon it, not realizing it took the boys three days by foot to get there. Three days just strolling along, talking, or sharing the silent beauty; the pauses for lunch or a drink from a well; the campfires in the evening. Even as I write this, it sounds luxurious. Christ does not move immediately from one dramatic story to another; there was down time, transition time between those demands. Time to process what had happened (these are the moments you see the disciples asking questions; “what did you mean by ... ?”). Time to catch their breath before the next encounter.
That was the pace Jesus felt was reasonable for people engaged in important things and wanting a life with God. Time we would categorize almost as vacation time, for those are the only periods we allow ourselves a stroll, a lingering lunch, a campfire conversation. We highly progressive moderns try to keep up without any of those intervals and transitions.
The things that we require of ourselves—we go from a tender conversation with our eight-year-old anxious about going to school to an angry phone call with our insurance company as we drive to work, followed by a quick chat with our sister needing a decision about our aging parents’ “memory care unit.” Then it’s straight into a series of business meetings (during which we multitask by trying to bang out some email), firing an employee, interviewing another, making dinner reservations for our spouse’s birthday, fitting in a conversation with our boss because we can’t say no, and showing up late and haggard for the dinner.
And we wonder why we have a hard time finding God, receiving more of him, feeling like we’re overflowing with life.
We are forcing our souls through multiple gear-changes each day, each hour, and after years of this we wonder why we aren’t even sure what to say when a friend genuinely inquires, “How are you?” We don’t really know; we aren’t sure what we feel anymore. We live at one speed: go. All the subtleties of human experience have been forced into one state of being.
Mercy. No soul was meant to live like this.
What sort of madness have we come to accept as normal when a One Minute Pause feels like a luxury?!
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