Blue lights flashing. Sirens blaring. Heart pounding. This was the start of my morning last Friday. Coming back from a speaking engagement the night before, I sped through the dark hours just before dawn trying to get to work. I often function in denial, and I previously held the belief that the police can’t stop you for speeding when it’s dark. I have since been proven wrong. And I have the ticket to prove this very myth-busting truth.
I may or may not have been stopped before, but for whatever reason, officers of the law always took pity on this simple school teacher. Not Friday. Nevertheless. I was speeding and deserve the consequences. But getting my first speeding ticket ever has given me pause.
I speed through life.
And so life is a blur.
Have you ever sat in the car passenger seat and looked out the side window as the road flies in front of your eyes? Colors blur into colors. Gray asphalt smudges together. Grass blades become one long stretch of green, dotted with life we never see.
That’s the thing about the way women today live. We live in the fast lane. We wake up. We shuttle children to church, to sporting events, to birthday parties, to music practice, and oh yeah, to school. We make it to work, cut coupons, clean house, cook dinners, wipe noses, and dry up tears. We go to bed. We wake up. We do it again.
My days go by in the same way. Arms and legs flailed about. Children tossed into cars. Lipstick applied in the rear-view mirror. I never seem to slow down. My life doesn’t unfold like a savored gift. No. It shoots off like a rocket, gone if I blink too many times. And I hate it. Not my life—no, I hate what I miss.
My life is the blur.
But I have discovered extraordinary is in the blur.
So I miss the extraordinary.
I miss the extraordinary because I can’t keep myself from speeding. I am full throttle, pedal to the metal. Never stopping. Because I can’t. And yet, while I’m racing, my grandfather lies in a hospital room. For him time is standing still. And soon, too soon, it will stop.
So where is the balance? Where is the balance between our last breath and trying to catch our breath? If extraordinary is in the blur, how in this world that I live in, am I supposed to slow down long enough to see it? To savor it?
I want so much to slow down, yet there are some days I move faster than my two-year old toward a light socket. So I pray. I pray and ask. Searching, begging my Jesus to show me how to live the unhurried life. The unharried existence.
His words whisper in my ear. Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG) And so I call. I cry out. I beg. How? How do I slow down?
And maybe that is the beginning. The start of the slow. To quiet my heart long enough to listen. To listen to the voice that speaks calm into my soul.
I hear Him. The God of Wonder answers. Pay attention.
Pay attention to the speed bumps. Pay attention to the chances I give you to slow down. Pay attention and drink it in.
I pray. Lord help me to see the opportunities you give me to slow down. Show them to me, and give me the wisdom to choose them. Because I hate speed bumps. Because choosing the slow is often so difficult. Because there are days I just want to be in the fast lane. Reach down, dear Jesus, and open my eyes so I may see past the blur. Show me how to pay attention.
And so He does…
- painting pink nails on my princess and leaving a sink full of dishes
- serving dinner later than normal because my court jester wants to help
- stopping to view a sunrise that steals my breath away
- looking into the eyes of my beloved long enough to say I love you and mean it
- taking five minutes to listen to a hurting heart
- saying no to that which I have not been called
There will be days that pass as a blur. I will regret the fuzziness they leave in my memory and the moments I miss. But there will be days I pay attention. And when I do, oh the beauty I will witness.
When I slow down, I inhale the extraordinary.