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The Hurrieder I go, the Behinder I get

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.

Hurry

That phrase, from a poster on my high school bedroom wall, is haunting me today. Not because time has passed, but because it hasn’t seemed to. It’s even more true today than it was back then, and it has me wondering whether I am making any headway.

Speed breeds errors. Which mean do-overs. Which take time. Which I have to take from something else I need to be doing. Which is on my mind as I rush to do again what I rushed through the first time.

Does this bother anyone else?

Slow down and get it right the first time beats like a drum in my daily doing. But slow doesn’t do it. Slow falls behind. Slow blows your doors off as they pass on the left and on the right. Slow, but sure, wins the race is for tortoises, not for today.

Somehow the quality of my living has to match the demands of the daily, but without do-overs. I don’t have any right to insist the other slow down so I can catch up. We all have the same twenty four hours to do the will of the One who sent us. I just need to get it righter, so I don’t get behinder. As the rush of wind circles back to pick up what it dropped, I will catch up.

What if my new poster is…

If God is in the race then God is in the pace.

How would Jesus run? I’m thinking He’d be a little bit like American Pharoah – but without the typo.

  • He’d be cool and collected in the starting blocks.
  • He wouldn’t burst into the lead right from the start.
  • He’d vary his racing strategy to suit the competitors.
  • He would trust His preparation and apply it through each turn and straight-away.
  • He’d always have a finishing kick.
  • He’d compete at all distances and
  • win every race.

My preparation is on-going even as I am running this race. I needn’t concern myself with trouncing the other competitors, but I do need to tap all the energy stores, exert myself responsibly and when the time is right, count on my finishing kick.

This race has already been won, folks. There’s no hurry.

The wide arc of change

Every generation sees change that needs making. Wrongs that need righting. Laws that need repealing. Injustices that need addressing. The young want to turn things around on a dime, right now. I love that about youth. They want things to be different and they want to be the difference.

Age and wisdom teach that change, a true righting for a change that will last, moves through a wide arc. It takes the long way ’round. It takes time and patience, not just energy and enthusiasm.

Having watched the movie Mandela: the Long Walk to Freedom, I was struck by this. The older Nelson Mandela got, the slower he went. The burden he carried grew heavier and heavier, and this slowed him to just the right pace. The urgency (and insurgency) of youth had been replaced by a calm, pensive plod forward.

Such irony, that we rush when we’re young because time seems to be slipping away, and we slow when we’re older when we know time grows short. What a paradox: the oldest or those with the least time left to bring about change take time to get it right.

The fiery young people keep the need for change before us. We need this. But what a responsibility to temper this with judgment and understanding and conversation. To discuss it with those who live it and those who administer it. And still to persevere, even where there’s antagonism, opposition and disagreement. It’s a long way home, and perspective that swings wide may be the best route. Settling for perfect pace may be our only means to finish alive. Our heart can only take so much.

But gradual training strengthens it: short runs, brief rides, casual walks, bouts of intensity sprinkled with rest and recovery. The quick fix disregards the details, just like the fad diet, or the exercise gimmick. If you’re in it for the long haul, you’re patient for progress. You raise your hand and don’t talk out of turn. This is the best way to get people to choose listening and for right to make its way forward.

It makes me wonder if this life isn’t just about introducing us to the perfect pace we will one day see and live. Allowing us to settle into it and feel at home in it. Things certainly need changing. But righting, now that takes time.

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