Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hurry sickness remedies

Here are some short-term remedies for hurry sickness:

1.  Drive in the slow lane on the highway; say a prayer for everyone who passes you.

2.  Join the longest line at the grocery store, or, better yet, give up your spot to the mother with the three crying babies behind you.

3.  Eat more slowly savoring every bite.

4.  Schedule small solitudes:  early in the morning, at noon, late at night.

5.  Say no to all extra activities for a month--even if they are good.

6.  Clean out all clutter--give yourself room to breathe.

7.  Unplug all electronics for an hour or day.  Bask in the silence.

8.  Declare a fast from honking your car horn.

9.  Begin to notice the small things in nature--athe wildflower, the blue sky, the constellations at night.

10. Unclench your fists and relax your neck and shoulders periodically.

11. Go through a whole day without your watch. 

12. Deliberately choose waiting when you can; spend the time with God.

The rewards of slowing tomorrow.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hurry Sickness--Remedies

Did you decide you had hurry sickness?  I guess we all have some.  Here are some remedies I am going to suggest tomorrow:
1.  Intentionality--You must decide to do as Ezra did in Ezra 7:10.  My version says he devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law.  Another verson says, "he set his mind". So you must set your mind to

2. Follow the example of Jesus.  He often withdrew to a lonely place or to a moountain or to a boat to pray and think about God.  It sounds like he chose solitude which is also a spiritural discipline.  No, you don't have to become a hermit or a monastic.  It just means you take time to turn aside, look at your life and follow his example.  His ministry only lasted three years, yet he says in John 17:4 "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do."  You might choose to eat lunch alone and seek a respite, or you could get up early before everyone else, or go into and lock the bathroom door for a while to "cool down" from the hurry of the day.

3.  It helps me to practice Examen.  At night as you lie down, review the day.  Ask what moment of the day was most grateful?  At what moment was I least grateful?  Or you could couch it this way, when did I feel most alive today or when did I feel the life draining out of me today.  Pledge to rid you life of the life-diminishing things and to seek more the life-enhancing moments tomorrow. 

4.  You can also seek longer times of solitude--create a sabbath day in your week.

5.  You must learn the practice of saying no.  There is and will always be the tyranny of the urgent and the unimportant.  Yes is a very seductive word--It means somebody wants you, and wants you to do something you do well.  After all, we are assisting in repairing the world (oops, there's that delusion of grandeur--God has already created the world and can run it without you).

6.  And of course, you cannot do it, that is, unhurry your life without prayer.

7.  You should seek accountability in the process.  Tell someone you can trust what you are attempting to do and ask them to keep you on the right path.

Yes, this all takes perseverance, and it often may seem like a waste of valuable time; that's because we are so programmed to stay busy doing rather than being. And doing often seems more holy.  Have you ever thought that the devil uses good things to tempt us away from God?

Tomorrow some smaller, more immediate ways to eliminate hurry.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hurry Sickness

Some of the symptoms of hurry sickness, as promised yesterday: (these are from several authors; I am sure you could add to them)

1.  You are haunted by the fear there are just not enough hours in a day to do what needs to be done.  You have a constant sense of strain and burden.
2.  You subsist on fast food. (The American contribution to world cuisine is fast food--food which can be held and eaten from one hand while you are doing something else.  And we get no real pleasure from it.!
3.  You buy anything which promises to help you read, talk, sell or drive faster.
4.  You are always searching for the shortest line--in the grocery store, dept. store or the fastest lane on the highway.
5.  You have a time-organizer the sice of the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and you also carry a Blackberry.
6.  You take great pride in multi-tasking and being available 24/7.
7.  Your life is full of unfinished tasks--unopened mail and e-mail, unread books, unreturned calls, unfolded clothing in the dryer
8. You may not be feverish, but your days are full of feverish and frenzied activities.
9.  Your are addicted to filling up every kind of space--time, closets, cabinets,
10. You have delusions of grandeur--nobody can do it as well or as fast as you can.
11. You honk your car horn at every opportunity.
12. You eat your meals in 10 minutes while you do something else.
13. You are always late.
14. You don't have tme to cultivate new relationships.
15. You rely on TV for news, because it takes too long to read the newspaper.

If very many of these fit you, my friend, you are sick.  Possible remedies tomorrow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I am teaching Bible Class Sunday morning on the topic "Slowing".  It is a spiritual discipline in which one deliberately develops patience by putting oneself in positions of waiting.  The main idea is to slow down life to a place where a closer relatinship to God can be developed.  We are using John Ortberg's book The Life You've Always Wanted in our classes this semester, stressing the importance of spiritual disciplines.

John Ortberg asked a friend, "What must I do to be spiritually healthy?"  The friend replied,
"YOU MUST RUTHLESSLY ELIMINATE HURRY FROM YOUR LIFE." Ortberg goes on to explain that many Americans today are suffering from "hurry sickness"--that is, the constant attempts to add more and more things and to attend more and more events in our lives in a shorter amount of time.  It is true that our culture overstresses doing rather than being.  With the advent of multi-tasking and being available 24/7, we have gone into overdrive.  I think those two things are inventions of the devil.

Among the risks of "hurry sickness" besides high blood pressure is the sabotaging of our closeness to God.
We just don't have time because we are too busy working, going to the mall, watching TV, checking our Blackberry and cell phone, answering e-mails, contributing to Facebook and Twitter (we talk to those friends far more than we talk to God!).

Some of the symptoms of "hurry sickness" tomorrow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reading at Wayne Reed

I read today to the pre-school children at the Wayne Reed Christian Child Care Center (CCCC).  These children  who live in the toughest part of town and whose parents both work were so well-behaved, sweet and responsive, I just had to hug them all.  They all insisted on helping me out of a very low chair and inviting me back.  It was a great experience!

I do miss reading to children--something I did nearly every day of my professional life as a public-school librarian.  Maddie and Ella have told me that their librarian never reads to them--what a shame.  Children treated to a visit to the library ought to hear a good book before they leave as part of their experience.  Yes, of course their teachers read to them (especially at Grandbery Elem.) yet, I am hearing from teachers who say they have no time to read anymore because of all the emphasis on testing.  Yes, their parents read to them--but sometimes they are not hearing the best of books there. I think it is part of a librarian's job to point both children and their teachers to the best of books available--there is so much junk out there, that a professional is sometimes needed to point the way.

Read on, kids!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sam is 5

We spend yesterday morning celebrating Sam's birthday--it is actually the 6th, but the party had to be yesterday.  About 9 little boys and girls came to go up in a rocket (the trampoline), plant the flag on the moon after going down the slip and slide, and play games in the pool.  It was extremely hot--so glad the activities had to do with water.  The kids also made "moon mud" (somewhat like play dough), threw rockets as far as they could, and enjoyed cake and ice cream.  They took home the moon mud, a pool toy, and a moon pie.

Sheryl is very good at planning theme parties and this one proved to be one of the best.  Sam was beaming.  I can't believe he is already 5 years old.  Happy birthday, Sam.