I remember reading a book by Milan Kundera a long time ago. I didn’t really think it was a very good book. It’s title was this–Slowness. I love that title. One of Kundera’s points was that when we wish to forget, we walk faster and faster. When we wish to remember, we slow down. Our society seems to be going faster and faster. What are we trying to forget? As a pastor, I feel that part of my job is to help people remember–remember their song when they have forgotten it.
I know that I need to slow down so that I can remember, too. As I walked along the California beach, all alone for miles, the lyrics of a song from forty years ago came back to me. I hadn’t thought about it for a long time. “You could have been more, than a name on the door, on the thirty third floor, more than a consumer, lying in some room waiting to die…” You can catch the drift of the message.
Somehow, hurry can make us two-dimensional, focusing only on the immediate. I see again that slowing down is so important when we have forgotten our song. Nature is a wonderful therapist. The trees will absorb our grief. The ocean will engulf our thoughtlessness. I remember reading where John Muir reflected on eternal life. He said something like this–sometimes when he had had a day wandering in nature, caught up in the awe of new sights, plants, wind, mountains, without having to rush, he felt he had entered a world of a kind of timelessness–a sort of eternal life on earth. We all know that there is more than one way to experience time.
I wrote a chapter on that in my last book–“Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There.” I think that it is something we have forgotten. Time to stop, and drink a cup of coffee, while sitting outside.
Upside Down Leadership