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By Rev. Carrie A.H. Benton
Mountain Lakes Presbyterian Church 

Slowing Down


“What do mortals get from all the toil and strain

with which they toil under the sun?

For all their days are full of pain,

and their work is a vexation;

even at night their minds do not rest.”

(Ecclesiastes 2:22-23)

Some of us are a bit reluctant to slow down. We know that when we do, we may notice something we are trying to avoid – a difficult conversation with a friend, an upcoming appointment with a doctor. Whatever it is, we usually do not want to face the reality that some things are beyond our control. We have no control over how a friend might react. We have no control over what the doctor may say. We have no control over most outcomes – and that uncertainty makes slowing down a bit scary. So, we keep ourselves busy in order to avoid difficult situations.

But what if slowing down came with a promise? That when we slowed down we experienced great freedom to be fully present with God and others? That the full presence of God would fill us with whatever we needed to engage any difficult life situation?

Because God loves us, God does not want any of us to miss an opportunity for slowing down. There are reminders all around.

The seasons can be reminders for slowing down. The inviting fall colors encourage a slow walk in the woods. The cooler temperatures inspire me to grab a blanket, a good book and hunker down in front of the wood stove. These reminders invite us to slow down a bit, take a look around us, and notice. Notice the changing colors, the winter fur fully coming in on the deer, the scurry of chipmunks and squirrels gathering whatever they can find, movement and stillness all around. Slowing down helps us to see just a little more of what is happening in our very midst.

How appropriate that our local speed limits have also changed – further encouraging us to slow down, look around, pay attention. Another reminder. Perhaps even this can serve as a tangible invitation for hurrying less and noticing more. An invitation to approach all of life – not only our traveling from one place to another – with divine curiosity.

May your RSVP to this divine invitation surprise you with hope and joy.


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