No being but a human appears to rush, things just take the time that they take. There is a simplicity in acceptance of that concept that makes so much sense to me. When my garden grows it just takes the time it needs. So why then do we get caught up in rushing to work, rushing our children off to school, rushing to eat, rushing to fall in love? Life really does give us reminders or opportunities to stop rushing and just let life do what it has to do. There’s that beautiful moment when you’re giving birth (I feel your resistance, just give me a sec) when you’ve just been through the worst bit (crowning) and you just have to stop everything, stop the fast breathing, don’t push, just wait and trust while you wait for the baby’s shoulders to turn so it can just slip out. (Ewww, OK sorry ;-))
I had an awful beautiful moment of watching and waiting two years ago, when my Pop, Ronald, was dying. The high-care nursing home he had been in hadn’t been moving him often enough an he developed a bedsore that he never recovered from. Day after day I sat there in the white hospital room beside him, holding his hand and playing the nostalgia station through my phone on Pandora. The cheerful curtains were competing with the smell of rotting flesh and disinfectant emitting from beneath my grandfather’s dressings. Most days the curtains came in second. I wanted to rush his pain to its end, but eventually fell into the lull that is dying. I sat and watched the people come and go, grappling with how to sort out their own emotions around death and the person who was dying. There was a slowness, an ease and a perfection that I observed in the way that my grandfather slipped away from this place, there was nothing hurried about it.
Falling slowly in love has a beautiful quality to it. Like languishing in the flavour of a perfect meal, letting the taste linger on your taste buds so there time to notice its buttery-sweetness along with it sharp sour notes. Giving yourself the permission to take the time that it takes to get to know another person is a gift to everyone involved. Although sometimes I must admit, I just want to slam down a burger, even though I know it’s not good for me.
My ex (stay with me now) would often complain about how long it took me to answer him. He would ask my opinion on some topic that required some thought, and before I could answer would lose it that I hadn’t answered. “I was thinking about what you asked me!” was a common utterance of mine. He would call me vague, but I always thought that if you were to take a person seriously, you would think about what to say before saying it. So, I was totally vindicated when I read this quote from Chief Luther Standing Bear.
“Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner.
“No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation.”
Chief Luther Sanding Bear, Oglala Sioux
No doubt I will again be employed in some role that ensures that a deadline is the bookend to my day. But, I hope we all remember to always take the time to breath, watch the clouds go past, think about it when someone asks us a question, look our children in the eyes when we smile at them and always notice the life that is moving around us, at a speed set by our consciousness of the moments it contains.