I suppose not everyone is in a hurry in the world now. Still, it certainly seems they are.
I’ve noticed it for a few years, but I think it’s worse today than ever before. Most places, anyway. Retail stores, internet websites, food establishments, banks—everywhere one looks, the world caters to folks speeding through life.
But, for just a few moments today—just a few—I found a slowing down place.
Our old friends met at the local steak house again this evening, annoying the waitstaff as we sat at the table long after the dishes had been cleared away, and troubling other diners nearby as we laughed loudly and told stories of family, life, and faith.
Ah, friendship, that shares in the joys, and hardships, and triumphs of life. Here, life slows to a crawl and time waits, if only for a few moments.
But even in this blessed pause, I felt the encroachment of hurry and impatience, at least momentarily.
Describing a trip out west they had recently taken, one of the couples suggested we should, if we ever had the chance, travel Interstate 70 through Colorado into Utah. They both described the route in words that made us understand the breathtaking beauty of the towering Rocky Mountains which it traverses.
But there, among the description of the beauties of creation, was the statement that reminded me of the harried pace of our lives.
And, when you reach Utah, the speed limit on the highway is eighty miles per hour.
It is, arguably, one of the most beautiful drives in our vast country, through some of the most picturesque vistas imaginable, and yet, folks drive through it as fast as they possibly can.
I stop to think about it for a moment, but everything has gone all white—and green.
In my mind, the Lovely Young Lady, red hair flying in the wind, and her skinny husband are cruising in the newly-painted old 1955 Chevy through the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. The Alpine White two-door sedan motors smoothly through the green-covered hillsides, purring right along.
Slowly. Really slowly.
It is the first road trip the old car has made in many years, indeed, the first road trip the young couple has ever made in it. They are in no hurry. None at all.
It was thirty-five years ago, but the memories are still so very distinct.
At no time on that long weekend did the beautiful old car top fifty miles per hour, and scarcely did we exceed even forty-five. We took our time, admiring the scenery along the road, stopping when we wanted, driving on when we were ready.
I remember sitting with our backs to a rocky bluff, on the footpath up above a noisy river, watching the fishermen below casting their fly lures, the weighted lines catching the sunlight and undulating in the air as they were flipped forward and back again and again.
Time seemed to stand still.
On that memorable weekend, all those years ago, we drove on nothing but back roads, never once entering the ramp to a freeway or divided highway.
But life moves on and we do, as well. And, while we move, time seems to speed up, encouraging us to do the same.
We listen and acquiesce.
On a recent outing to a town nearby, as we came off of one divided highway we had traveled at high speeds and approached the intersection of another, she reminded me of the tendency for traffic to jam up at the traffic light.
I know. I’m turning onto the back road up ahead so we can avoid all that and still make good time.
Once, we took the back roads so we could take our time. Today, we use them as shortcuts to get there more quickly.
I’d like to have more of those slow-down trips and fewer of the hurry-up ones.
And indeed, there are still days when we take the back roads, not to avoid the traffic, but simply to enjoy the drive.
The Preacher suggested we would be better off if we did it more often when he said that eagerness without comprehension is pointless and hurry produces inferior results. (Proverbs 19:2)
Mr. Franklin said it more succinctly a few thousand years later. Haste makes Waste.
There are things we should hurry to:
The aid of someone in need.
The side of one who is overcome with grief.
The assistance of a brother or sister who is losing sight of the prize.
But, all of life is not to be lived in a frenzy to get to the destination. Rather we bless and are blessed along the way, as we take time to enjoy our Creator and our fellow man.
Eighty miles per hour is too fast to take in the astounding wonders all around us.
It’s time to ride the back roads again for a little while.
The journey is worthwhile. There is great beauty along the way.
The destination is still out there. Up ahead.
It is easier to shout “stop” than to do it.
(from The Two Towers ~ J.R.R. Tolkien)
But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.
(Romans 8:25 ~ NLT ~ Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved.)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.