Sifting through old e-mails as a kind of virtual decluttering discipline, I came across several “slow” references, articles and resources I’d pasted into an e-mail sent to myself as an impromptu and inefficient filing system.One article was called “Slow Living: It’s About Time,” published in 2002 by Fred First at “Fragments From Floyd.”First, who lives off a gravel road in rural Virginia, points out that even there, his lifestyle is full. “In our country life,” First wrote, “we are as active as anyone anywhere. We can’t be faulted for running away from things to do. But there is a difference between being busy and being hurried. It is hurriedness that our gravel road helps us to avoid when leaving home, an enforced kind of meditation that prepares us to enter the faster world in a slower state of mind.”Choosing to live away from bustling cities, First has been seeking, Thoreau-like, to simplify, simplify, simplify. He pointed out that Mr. Thoreau surely “did not envision modern families cramming the maximum activity and consumption into every mile and minute, each effort and motion.” But First pointed out that while he likes his slower, rural setting, the solution to our addiction to “speed” is not in relocating to a farm on a gravel road; in fact, he was impressed with the “Slow Cities” movement that was gaining speed at the time.
One could live “fast” in the country, or “slow” in a city environment. It seems to be more a matter of individual and collective discipline and temperament than population density. Slowing down requires purposeful and difficult choices in our stewardship of time, and we must become less passive in this unspoken struggle between competing philosophies. The more we succeed at guarding ourselves from speed addiction, the louder the purveyors of faςade and tempo will shout for our attention: bigger signs, louder ads, flashier graphics, gaudier plastic and neon, Happier Meals. Where does it stop, and when?
Where does it stop, and when? The “purveyors of faςade and tempo” will never stop; all we can do is resist and let their words fall of deaf ears.How?Well, I think our only chance is to find our strength and satisfaction in something deeper and more profound than an ideal or philosophy—even the Slow Movement or ongoing simplicity trend—in order to resist those signs, ads, graphics, plastic, neon and “Happier Meals.”We have to listen to truth—God’s Truth—and believe it, cling to it, and return to it again and again as a countermeasure.To resist bulging schedules and a steady diet of bigger-better-faster, we need to eat the Bread of Life to be filled with what really matters.For me to resist the speed of the world, I need to return to the truth of Scripture again and again.For me to resist the voices telling me that who I am and what I have isn’t enough, I need to listen to the voice of the Savior again and again.In Him, I rest. In Him, I am satisfied.
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.Listen to him! (Matthew 17:5)
First, Fred. “Slow Living: It’s About Time.” Web log post. Fragments From Floyd. 8 June 2002. Web. 24 Jan. 2010. <http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com/fragments/2002/06/slow_living_its_about_time.html>.
“Slow Cat” photo © 2010 by Ann Kroeker.
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Lynn Hopper says
Most of the time, Katy the cat is not only slow, but sound asleep. But, since she is an inside cat, she occasionally feels the need for exercise. Then she race through the house, scattering rugs as she goes! Then she is a fast cat!
Lynn: Glad I caught her in a slow mood!!
I like this Ann. The most important thing for me is finding my satisfaction in Him. It frees me from the frantic seeking-after-approval way of living. I can simply live and move in Him. It is a lesson I am trying hard to learn.
Linda, thank you for this note. I want to live and move and have my being in Him, too, at the pace that He wants for me.