It all happened about a week ago. Something needed to be done and very quickly. Thankfully I had help but a scenario played out that I have seen many times. People hover for a few minutes and then gently suggest that maybe they take over and I go do a simpler task. Then I watch as they do what I was just doing much more quickly. I found myself waking up at 4:00 in the morning that next day haunted by two words that I have heard a lot in my life. I felt bad because I was just “too slow.”
I have always been one to take my time. I was the girl in first grade who was let out for lunch a few minutes early because the cafeteria was downstairs and my teacher was worried I would get trampled by the rush of kids running to lunch. I am the employee who carefully visits and revisits each step of a process to make sure I am doing things correctly. I have heard the words “slow as a…snail, molasses in January etc.” one too many times. And inside my inner critic has translated “not quick enough” into “not good enough.”
Thankfully, God is more powerful than the inner critic and kinder too and has gently been helping me to realize that I need to let that go. The day after my early morning scolding of myself for being too slow, I was watching a Star Trek movie I have seen a hundred times. Captain Picard finds himself on a planet where eternal youth has created a much slower existence for its inhabitants. While enjoying a leisurely evening walk with an enchanting woman, she tells him that many of their younger generation are attracted to stories of a faster pace of life. “Many of my people who live that faster pace of life, would sell their souls to slow it down,” he replies. The words struck me. A slower approach to life could be a blessing and I was making it out to be a curse. The very next day, I was sitting in a Sunday School class and we were discussing what it means to “feast upon the words of Christ,” a scripture phrase from the Book of Mormon. A friend raised her hand and I know she doesn’t have any idea how much her words affected me. She said that when we feast on food we slow down, we savor; we take our time. “Slow down”, “savor”, “take our time”, I wrote them in the margins of my scriptures. I felt like I did when I was a little girl and first heard Mister Rogers sing “I like to take my time for if I should have to do it right, I like to take my time to do it right.” I remember so clearly as a child feeling relief to hear those words coming from the television. I felt that same relief hearing the words of my friend and the sweet confirmation of the Holy Ghost. When it comes to feasting upon the words of Christ, it is not only okay to slow down, savor, and take my time, it was what is needed.
So, this message is for all those out there who take life at a slower pace; those being constantly told to hurry-up and who feel less because they aren’t as fast as everybody else. My friends…don’t change. Yes there may be some times when we need to pick up the pace and go faster but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us. There is something right. The world needs all of us, the Speedy McFeelys and the take-my-timers.
We may be the last ones out the door, or down the stairs for lunch.There will always be someone who can do it faster than we can.
There may be many other ways to finish the statement “slow as a…”
And we may wake up at 4:00 am recounting all the ways we could have been faster.
We can help others to stop and smell the roses or the scent of cinnamon toast in the morning.
We know how to take our time and savor as we feast upon a Thanksgiving dinner, or on the words of Christ…or even just a simple, ordinary day.