Every once in a while, the Back Page ought to provide practical advice. I wish I was smart and clever enough to provide witty banter every week, but I’m not. The kids have left the nest, so my best material went with them. Parenting is great fodder, at least for me. I messed up a lot. But writing something clever, designed to make you think — while at the same time preparing us for worship, can be tough.
So this week, I’ve decided to just be practical. I’ll avoid all things political (that’s a given usually). I’ll not be a pundit or a prognosticator or even a theologian today. Nothing from Israel. Nothing from Uganda. Nothing from life here at church. Just something from life.
You probably know that I’m now a volunteer chaplain with the Sheriff’s Department. That means regular ride-a-longs. It’s quite interesting. Usually. If there is a hint of trouble, I’m glued to the passenger seat while the deputy checks things out.
But, there is one very practical lesson that I’ve learned in my patrolling adventures. And it is not all that profound. And there is nothing particularly spiritual about it. And yet, I would say it could be one of the most important topics I’ve highlighted on the Back Page in a while. Maybe ever.
Are you ready? Here’s what I’ve learned over the last couple of trips around the hill while on duty. (Have I properly built up some suspense? Or maybe you just skipped ahead). What is it that I learned that I’d like to pass along to us all? It is simply this: slow down.
Yep, just slow down in our pursuit of any destination.
We’ve talked about that concept spiritually when we explored creating some margin in life. But what I’m talking about now is this: when you drive, take your time. Slow down. Why be in such a hurry? You aren’t really going to make that much of a difference in your arrival time anyway. And even if you are late to work, don’t rush. Slow down. Try getting out of the house earlier tomorrow, that could help. But for the moment, slow down.
The last couple of adventures in a sheriff’s car, I’ve had to stand around while people deal with the aftermath of a car accident, which on some level involved the need to get somewhere faster than what was safe. So, put down your cell phone. Ease up a bit on the gas pedal. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Before plowing through an intersection, look both ways — even if your light is green.
Just slow down. I beg you.
Why are we always in such a hurry in our modern world? I guess because we think we are that important. Or we are just impatient. Well, being on time is important — but it’s not worth the risks you take. So, I beg you…slow down. Take your time. Keep yourself and others out of the ER.
So, there you have it. My profound and witty and sage advice for the week is simple: slow down. Oh, and while you are at it, go ahead and come to a full stop at every stop sign. What’s the hurry?