These words rise from heart to head each
morning as I wake.
I hear them walking away from a networking meeting at the
small, brick café down the street.
I hear them when the kids whirl around the kitchen like
snowflakes in a blizzard and it’s all I can do to keep from blasting them into
submission with a giant stomping shout.
“Slow down,” the voice says.
In seminary we ran intellectual marathons – punishing races
in pursuit of excellence.
In the hours when the kids are at school and I am my own
boss, I feel myself pushing again in that old, familiar pattern.
Run hard, run fast.
Do more. Do it better. Move, move, move.
And still, the small voice whispers, “Slow down.”
Last week we had the twins’ four-year-old well-visit at the
pediatrician’s office. John and I met at the office and the boys stripped down to their underwear and clambered around the room while we waited for the Dr.
We asked about their speech, which the preschool seems to
think needs fixing. We got caught up on necessary shots.
With their birthdays falling in August, the appointment was
well overdue. Between the well-visits, the eye dr. and the dentist we, it
seems, are falling behind.
“I can’t keep up,” I say to my husband, to myself, to anyone who
is still long enough to listen.
The thought of the dentist appointments needing to be
scheduled and adding speech therapy for two into the mix? It causes a panic in me, like water rising
around someone who cannot swim.
“Hurry, hurry,” life screams.
Last year, coming off of a weekend of panic attacks, I took
the twins to their well-visit by myself.
In the exam room panic rose around me.
My heart pounded, skin flashed hot and cold. Two half-naked boys perched, one on each
knee, was all that kept me from rising, running from the room.
Maybe this is why the voice tells me, “Slow down.” Because we can only spin so fast before we lose
our balance and start to fall.
Sometimes slow is the only way to be.
Sometimes slow is the one necessary thing.
Sitting with those words, “Slow down,” and my markers, I found a few more words – maybe you need them too in this too often frenetic holiday season.
Slow down. Just be.
Listen to and dwell in what is
here, now, this moment.
What love? What fear?
And what possible doorway between the two?
(Grace, always, is the door.)