BY VIRGINIA RYAN
Recently I had to have an operation on my right hand. The doctor assured me: “it’s a very simple operation, you’ll only be in hospital for the day.”
It all sounded quite straightforward. He then added, “you’ll be in a cast so no driving, lifting or using the computer for two weeks.” “Sounds good to me, I need a rest”. He smiled.
It took exactly 12 hours before the withdrawal symptoms set in. I felt so irritated and distracted because I could ‘get things done’. I had to sit and watch as the dishes pilled up. I couldn’t iron, couldn’t log on, or get lost on the net and worst of all I couldn’t jump in the car and “just. . . .”
Yes I politely asked other people to help and they did but it wasn’t the same. I missed controlling my own busyness. I really missed that busy, racy and go, go go. I didn’t enjoy going slow, watching and waiting for others to get things done on their timeline.
It began to dawn on me that I was addicted to squeezing yet another thing onto that list and, as much as I complained about it, I loved the exhaustion of getting things done. It’s a bit sick really. The racing and the ticking boxes gave me a comfortable illusion of being in control. If I’m going flat I can cover all bases so nothing untoward goes wrong. It’s a delusion and an addiction. I’m not in control and thank God I’m not.
I slowed down reluctantly over the two weeks.
The cast came off. The withdrawal symptoms subsided but Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics kept rolling through my mind, ‘Slow down, you movin' too fast, You gotta make the morning last, Just kickin' down the cobblestones, Lookin' for fun and Feelin' groovy.. . “
Slowing down gives you time to notice the morning, find fun and maybe even feel groovy. It’s a very simple operation.
Slow me down, Lord! Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind. Steady my harried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time. Give me, amidst the confusions of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tensions of my nerves with the soothing music of the sighing streams that live in my memory. Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower; To chat with an old friend or to make a new one; To pat a stray dog, To watch a spider build a web; To smile at a child; Or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day that the race is not always to the swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed. Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak and know that it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord, And inspire me to send my roots deep Into the soil of life’s enduring values That I may grow toward the stars Of my great destiny.
- prayer written by Orin L Crain