An Unhurried Life

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We’re not even two weeks into the new year and chronically busy Americans are already becoming anxious.

Is there going to be enough time to accomplish what we so recently resolved to make happen in 2022? 

One of the great human obsessions of the modern age is to make time jump through more hoops – to force time to be more productive.  That’s why so many of us are suckers for the next generation of “time-saving,” minutes-stretching, technological innovations.  Life apparently isn’t worth living without the fastest possible internet connection, not to mention same-day deliveries of retail purchases.  We’re urged to stay ahead of the curve.

When it comes to time, however, people are truly equal.  We all are charged with managing exactly 60 minutes over the next hour. In a culture that seems increasingly panicked about such a basic responsibility, what’s our call?

Our call is to embrace the conviction that time is not our enemy

We may fret that we don’t have enough time, or that time is going too fast.  But the perspective of Scripture is that we already have at our disposal exactly the number of hours we need to do exactly what God wants us to do – and never to feel rushed.

First-time visitors to Rome frequently conclude that they may have only one chance to explore such an historic city.

Therefore they sign on for one of those everything-included-hurry-up-and-keep-moving tours.  “Now here’s the Colosseum, there are the Spanish Steps, and just over your shoulder is the ancient Forum.  Next, let’s take 20 minutes to admire the marvelous Sistine Chapel.” 

You know the drill:  Stand over there and let me get your picture throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain. Wow, there sure are a lot of pigeons. Hey, look at the time.  Please keep moving.  

That is all too often an out-of-towner’s only exposure to the Eternal City (which must seem like an ironic name for people rushing to take in all the sights).

By contrast, people who move to Rome have a completely different encounter with the city.  They don’t scurry about as tourists.  They are residents.

Experienced Romans know that years are required simply to begin to comprehend what this place has meant to human history.  Every street, every alley, every building has a story to tell.  A tourist cannot possibly absorb and appreciate such stories in a four-hour sweep across town.

With all of our hearts, we must resist the temptation to become tourists in our own lives.

“I’d like the four-hour highlight tour of parenting, please.”  “Come on, kids, it’s time to do third grade.  Stand right there and let me get your picture. OK, on to the next stage in your life.”

We must refuse to buy tickets for the quick walk-through of the Museum of Religious Experiences. God calls us not to rush through the time that has been given to us, but to be fully alive to God and to each other – to actually become residents within these moments we’ve been provided.

Psalm 90 is the only one of the Bible’s 150 psalms attributed to Moses.  It’s quite possibly one of the most ancient texts of Scripture.  We read in verse 12, “So teach us to count our days, that we may gain a wise heart.”  In this context, counting doesn’t mean obsessing over numbers.  It means thinking carefully about the meaning of each day – living wisely and living well at a pace that allows us to love God and love each other.

Hurry is the great enemy of love.  And it always corrodes joy.

Therefore we might choose to pray, “Lord, teach me how not to be in a rush today, even though I know I’m going to be busy.”

In 2022, we will have all the time we need to accomplish exactly what we’re called to do.

Every moment will be gift. 

And every moment will count forever.