Slow down, you move too fast; you’ve got to make the morning last. Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
Okay, so “feeling groovy” dates me; I remember when Simon and Garfunkel were not an oldies act and saying “groovy” was, well, groovy. But what’s fresh as ever is the call to slow down, because we do move too fast.
Summer used to be lazy, hazy days: permission to wear a three-month dazed gaze with impunity. Set aside agendas, open a book no one wants you to read, forget to don shoes at least once a week. Even grown-ups felt the school’s-out rhythm.
Nowadays life runs 24/7 and 365. New York is the city that never sleeps, and everybody’s a bit of a New Yorker. We feel the need to produce at every moment. We design tools to do more work in less time.
Microsoft’s new Pocket PC slogan asks: How would you use an additional 5 minutes? The question is supposed to encourage us to use technology to save us time, so we can throw the ball with our kid, take a walk with the dog or sit on the porch with the spouse. But once you get caught in warp-speed life, it takes a spiritual chiropractic session to make the adjustment to soul time.
Speed kills. That slogan’s as true on life’s comtemplative byways as on automotive highways. You need to slow down to see; spirituality cannot be won on the run. Museum meandering is closer to optimum spiritual speed.
When skipping a stone on a pond, the greater the velocity, the closer to the surface of things it stays. It drops when it loses speed, finding its depth. Which is just the thing we are afraid to do – go deep by going slow. We might find what we don’t like at the bottom of things.
But what if we find sunken treasures, instead? What if we discover truth, goodness and beauty beyond our dreams? What if Dante was right, that the end of all our searching leads us to the “love that moves the sun and other stars?”
Instead of asking what you would do with an additional five minutes that you will never have, why not ask how you will spend the five you do have? You may not be able to vacation at a monastery this summer, but you might turn off the radio on the way to work, open the car window, insert five minutes of Psalm-reading before the sports section, and reserve a place in the pew each Sunday.
It’s not heaven, but it’s a start.