By Drew Shriner | Echo
Most Taylor students' lives, particularly at this point in the semester, are characterized by stress, worry and a flurry of reading, writing and studying.
However, I think we can all agree that this is not the preferred way to live. Rather than constantly living in a flutter from one thing to the next, we would likely prefer to live slowly, calmly and in control.
In pursuit of this, Erik Hayes, associate professor of kinesiology, assigns a reading entitled "An Unhurried Life" by Alan Fadling. While I have not had Hayes as a professor, and this reading has never been assigned to me, I am grateful that it was passed along by students who did have it assigned by him.
Thanks to this reading, I spent much of this semester seeking a less hurried life, and as this time of the semester has rolled around, I have found myself feeling less stressed and more in control.
In the reading, Fadling describes what he calls "hurry sickness." This is our culture's constant need to move faster: fast-food, two-in-one shampoo and conditioner, pizza delivery. Yet, as Fadling concludes, all of our work to move faster has only caused us to feel time-poor.
I notice myself in this trap as well. At the beginning of this semester, I was unprepared for my workload and quickly fell into rushing about from one task to another, not giving my full attention or effort to most of them.
My relationships with my friends, my wing, my girlfriend and my God all suffered drastically. I realized that I had to slow down.
It is important to note here that slowing down does not equate to being lazy or not busy. We do not need to have nothing to do; we need to do those things which we do have to do without hurry.
Fadling points to Jesus as the example of an unhurried life par excellence. Jesus often had much to do, but he always remembered to slow himself down enough to maintain his connection with the Father and to be able to give love to those who needed it.
There are two known antidotes to the disease of hurry, according to Fadling: slowing and solitude.
Slowing is the process of deliberately choosing to place oneself in a situation requiring patience. Drive the speed limit. Chew your food 15 times before swallowing. My personal favorite has been to scrub my hands well when I wash them and then use the hand-dryer until they are actually dry. (The hot water feels really nice when it's so cold out, so this may be a little easier than some others.) These things are a little counter-intuitive. They take an intentional effort. The effort is well worth it, however.
Solitude is the process of deliberately removing oneself from the unnoticed "forces of society that will otherwise relentlessly mold us," according to Fadling. Though it seems counterproductive, I have found that even 15 or 20 minutes of solitude or silence can be extremely rejuvenating. In these moments, one can slow down, simply breathe and reorient oneself with oneself. Rather than following the movements of the world around, in solitude one can be alone with God, listening only to him without competition from the glut of voices usually surrounding us.
By slowing down, by living unhurried, we can better navigate these periods of busyness with less stress. I think that is something that we all would benefit from.