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Slow Down



Yeah, right! That is much easier said than done.


As this is the first week of 2022, I am approaching this new year like I always do. I am wondering how fast I will need to go in order to catch up and do all the things that I didn’t get done in the previous year. It is just who I am. I like to check off items on my to-do list as soon as possible.


Usually, I am encouraged to slow down when I am multitasking and accomplishing goals I have set for myself (and anyone else near me) on my monthly spreadsheet. Well … maybe not accomplishing fully, but I am almost always attempting to accomplish those goals. I am not a diagnosed “workaholic,” but I may be a close cousin!


That word “slow” has always bothered me. If I use it as a verb, “slow down” would seem to mean that I need to “live or work less actively or intensely.”


Really? I just don’t come to that pace easily! All the things I have learned on my journey have encouraged me to run the race to win and to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling. And don’t forget my favorite quote from the movie, “Chariots of Fire” — when Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”


Run. Press. Hurry! My own simple understanding seldom gravitates to any wisdom or scripture that admonishes me to walk, rest, or (God forbid) stop! I falsely evaluate others based on how fast they are moving no matter what the task may be. It’s wrong, I know. I am very fast at some things but, when it comes to creative details, I may be one of the slowest to complete a task. I get stuck in the perfecting of the beautiful things. Someone is evaluating and diagnosing me right now, I am sure!


So, how do we view those who travel at slower paces than ourselves? Or more importantly for my own honest introspection, how do I view these fellow travelers? When we say someone is “slow,” what does that mean? Does it mean they are “not very clever,” or they take “a long time to understand” some things, as defined in the Collins Dictionary? Or have we just thrown an insult quietly or not so quietly at a person struggling with an intellectual disability (ID)?


Have I somehow confused slowing down with an inability to move faster? That “if she could, she would” mentality!? Before I was told that Robert was mentally retarded (MR back then), I had an uneducated rejection of everything those words implied. I revolted and was tormented because I was naive enough to think that his hundreds of daily seizures had not affected him in that way. But, the gracious way that Robert’s elementary school teacher, Mrs. Kim Mellum, embraced my weeping soul assured me that Robert’s diagnosis was correct and that he would need that diagnosis to receive proper care, even if my broken heart needed some time to comprehend it all. She did all of that for Robert and for me right in the middle of the school hallway after his doctor’s appointment on that life-changing day.


Do you see what I mean? I had equated slowing down, slow, MR and ID to mean less than. Even with my own child, I had worked at a really fast pace to get ahead of that learning curve to prevent that labeling. I knew Robert was very smart underneath that mountain of seizures, but as they increased beyond what medical intervention could prevent, he was going to “slow down.”


You probably expected this blog post to be about how we should stroll into the new year with a slower, more regulated stride. I wish I could tell you that is what I am doing, but I am not! I am sprinting into 2022 with the mindset that I can breathe in the beauty of new challenges and rest when needed but keep the pace I have been blessed to enjoy. I have come to admire those that walk, jog, run or ride at a different pace than mine. Robert was one of those amazing human beings. His pace changed almost annually, which seems very apropos for me to remember in this first week of the year.


When my pace is altered this year, I will welcome it, knowing there will be days when I must slow down to breathe. I will need to slow down and sit to watch a movie and enjoy the company of my Chris. I will need to slow down to take in the wonder of our new grandson. I will need to slow down to listen to our adult children share their life experiences. I will need to slow down to hear God’s still small voice.


I will need to slow down to teach my students and rejoice with them at each vocal and life accomplishment. I will need to slow down to hear your voice and respond appropriately to address the questions and concerns you have. I will need to fling my head back and slow down to laugh out loud when life gets interrupted with a joyous occasion. I will need to slow down to catch my breath as we approach February 6th, marking and celebrating our sweet Robert’s last day this side of heaven. I will need to slow down on that day… for sure.


However, in this new year, I commit to finding ways to adjust my misinformed outlook about others. I will strive to treat each person I meet with true respect for their pace and journey. I will set my heart towards compassion and understanding. And I will seek to embrace the truth that all of us deserve the right to get on our own track and take the journey.


Whatever your pace is this year, I hope your road will be filled with contentment and true satisfaction. Whatever your road looks like now or in this coming year, I hope we can lock arms and do some good together.


Happy New Year!


Listening Library: Slow Down (Nichole Nordeman)

https://youtu.be/clcNB_EUao8


“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)



Slow Down


Here's to you You were pink or blue Everything I wanted Here's to you Never sleeping through From midnight 'til the morning

Had to crawl before you walked, before you ran Before I knew it You were trying to free your fingers from my hand 'Cause you could do it on your own now Somehow


Slow down Won't you stay here a minute more I know you want to walk through the door But it's all too fast Let's make it last a little while I pointed to the sky and now you wanna fly I am your biggest fan I hope you know I am But do you think you can somehow Slow down


Here's to you Every missing tooth Every bedtime story Here's to Barbie cars Light saber wars Sleeping in on Sunday

Had to crawl before you walked, before you ran Before I knew it You were teaching me the only thing love can Hold hands through it When it's scary, you've got me


Slow down Won't you stay here a minute more I know you want to walk through the door But it's all too fast Let's make it last a little while I pointed to the sky and now you wanna fly I am your biggest fan I hope you know I am But do you think you can somehow Slow down


Please don't roll your eyes at me I know I'm embarrassing But someday You'll understand You'll hold a little hand Ask them if they can


Oh-oh-oh-oh 'Cause it's all too fast Oh-oh-oh-oh


I am your biggest fan I hope you know I am But do you think you can Somehow Slow down Slow down


Songwriters: Chris Stevens / Nichole Nordeman

Slow Down lyrics © Birdwing Music, Meaux Mercy Publishing, Birdboy Songs, Moody Producer Music


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