The Gift of Slowness

This morning I rushed to get my boys out of their car seats so I could rush into a hardware store before rushing off to get groceries. Oliver dragged his feet and I snapped at him. There was no reason for my urgency–we had plenty of time to do the little I had assigned before Josiah’s nap time. But there were boxes to check on my index card and I knew I’d feel better with money spent and tasks accomplished. Lost in the shuffle were a little boy’s feelings and the simple joy of watching small children act like children.

I have noticed that most of the frustration I feel with my boys occurs when their lives and needs intrude on my task list. I am more patient with childishness and misbehavior–more ready to give grace or to gently apply consequences–when I feel rested or realize there is space and time to live in the moment without the pressure of unchecked boxes on a list of errands and chores I have created for myself.

Perhaps today I can shift my focus more toward people and less on things. Perhaps I can look at my boys and love them more for who they are and not for how long they napped or how little maintenance they required while I solved all the problems of my narrow world. I have heard there is richness in relationships. I have heard there is joy in people and events. The life of a child is a life full of wonder. I would like to borrow some of that joy, let it soak down deep and make me nice to be around.

Maybe today’s task list is to destroy my task list. Maybe I will find myself surprised by joy with the simple, slow activity of living life with small children. It will wreak havoc with my productivity. My inner “manager” will have a fit. No matter. I’ll talk to my Supervisor and take a vacation day. I’ve heard that the owner of the world is fond of children. I think I’ll invite him along.

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