Wednesday, February 22, 2017

She Made Us Walk Slowly

A good many years ago, a funeral.

A young woman.
Down Syndrome.

She'd taken ill, one of so many illnesses that came her way.
And she breathed her last.

Family members spoke with tenderness.
Telling of her love for them, and their love for her.

Her good cheer and laughter.
Her eagerness and energy.

Of course, her shortness of temper.
And her stubborn ways, too.

And, then, this from a brother:
"She made us all walk slowly."

Obviously, she couldn't keep up with them,
At their regular pace.

They had to slow down their walk, for her.
Because she couldn't walk with them.

Are there not lots of folks like her?
Folks who can't keep pace with us?

In our bustle and hustle.
Our self-impressing ways.

So, we can either leave them behind.
Or, we can slow ourselves down.

I think it's good thing to keep in mind.
To slow down, sometimes.

So we can walk with the slow folks.
And with them, enjoy the day.

Who knows what gifts they have for us.
We might be surprised.

Good cheer and laughter might come our way.
A smile and a hug.

Or, maybe, just the look of gratitude.
For paying attention to them.

Seeing them in their reality.
A slow gait, a hesitant step.

Some can't go all that fast.
Some hobble through the days.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
I fear no evil," wrote the Psalmist.

"For thou art with me."
The LORD slows down.

Because I can't run, sometimes.
I can hardly walk, sometimes.

I can't even move, sometimes.
Frozen in time and space, sometimes.

The LORD stops walking, sometimes.
The LORD sits down beside me, sometimes.

Those times where I set the pace.
Because it's the only pace I can pace.

Sure, there are times when the LORD says.
"Get up and go."

Like the LORD said to Elijah, at the mouth of the cave.
But only after a time of solitude and listening.

Elijah had to get it out of himself.
And the LORD was patient.

"The LORD walks with me.
And talks with me.

Along life's narrow way."
Says the hymn.

And, then, too, those times.
When the LORD says, "Come, follow me."

And I surprise myself with the pace I can keep.
For the work of life and the demands of the day.

Yet never to be so impressed with myself.
That I harshly expect others to keep pace with me.

I have to pay attention
To the pace of others.

It's not always: "Keep up with me."
As if I were the one in charge.

I have to slow down, sometimes.
Pay attention, sometimes.

Walk with them.
Sit with them.

Go nowhere with them.
Because nowhere is somewhere.

And somewhere has life.
For those who are slow enough to see it.

Slow folks do their best, as everyone does.
So, it's a good thing:

To let others.
Slow ... us ... down.

1 comment: said...

Thoughtful piece of writing, Tom.

The other day while I was out for a jog,
an acquaintance passed in her car.

The next day we had a phone conversation
and she said, "I see you were taking a walk."

And so it goes
for a poke so slow.
A mile I used to run
in minutes numbering eight.
Now I speed along
at a much slower rate.
One day I'll run a mile
in minutes numbering twenty-eight.
I'd ask you to go for a run with me,
but I'm afraid for dinner you'd be very late,
so let's just sit sipping a glass of wine
and tell each other
that life is like very fine wine,
which, in the making,
takes a little more time --
to get it just right.