Life in the Slow Lane

IMG_1770It was 8:05pm Memorial Day evening. I was on the freeway with two of my five kids – the oldest and the youngest. The oldest was listening to his IPod. The youngest was indignantly watching cars go by her window, announcing with much emotion, “Speeder. Speeeeder. Definitely a speeder! Mom, do motorcycles have to go the speed limit too, or do they get a free pass?”

I laughed. “No free passes. Motorcycles have to obey the speed limit too.”

“Double speeder!” Pause. “Mom?”

“Yeah, Honey?”

“Why is everyone in such a hurry? Can’t they just slow down? Where are they all going in such a rush? And where are the police?”

Good questions. Where are we all going in such a hurry? Why do we feel the need to rush from one thing to the next without regard for the speed limit, our health, our safety, our lives? Living at such a frantic pace, we fail to live in the moment. We miss the laughter, beauty and joy in our midst, trading them for stress and frustration, anxiety and anger. We forge ahead consumed with the destination, completely missing the journey. In a sense, we’re taking God’s precious gift of time and life and telling Him it isn’t what we want, that we don’t have the time. Ouch.

A few weeks ago, I was on the back of a Harley riding through Alaska. The mountains rose 50 feet from one side of the road, and the ocean inlet fell away 100 feet from the other. An eagle soared overhead. Snow capped the peaks and descended into valleys. Glacial ice fields chilled the air. Ice bergs floated in the bay. As we rode through this wild, untamed country, I felt closer to God than I had in months, and Megan’s questions resurfaced in my mind. Why are we in such a hurry? Where are we going in such a rush, and why do we think it’s OK to break the law to get there faster? Why do we wait and hope and plan for tomorrow or next week or next year to slow down and enjoy our lives? Life isn’t awaiting us at a destination, it’s happening right here, right now, and we’re missing it.

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m in Alaska, on the back of a Harley, behind the man I love most in this world, and I don’t want to miss a single minute. Teach me to slow down and experience the immensity of who You are. Teach me to be fully present in every moment; to savor this precious, priceless gift of time and life you’ve given me. Teach me to laugh easily, love abundantly, and to be content no matter where I am, for I’m beginning to understand that the only way to taste and see just how good You are is to slow down and experience life as You created it to be: Life lived abundantly, richly, deeply in the slow lane, where we find purpose and meaning and joy in every moment along the way.”

By Cindee Re
August, 2008

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