Monday, May 19, 2008

Why the hurry?

The U.S. A. Today review of the new Indiana Jones movie said the film was fun, but "longish." Something similar was said about Prince Caspian when it was reviewed last week. And, if I remember right, Iron Man received the same critique . . . "longish."

We live in a society that is always on the run. It is seen in the way we fill our every waking moment with activity. It is seen in the general sensory overload that is descriptive of our contemporary world. You could say that society at large suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder. There is a general inability to take things slow, to stop and smell the roses, if you will. We must always be on to the next thing, the next thrill, the next item to occupy our attention . . . for a few moments, until something else catches our eye., less boredom and inactivity set in.

Take my experience today as an example. I drove from Durango, Colorado to Liberal, Kansas. The first half of my drive took me over the southern Colorado Rockies, in particular the San Juan Mountains and famed Wolf Creek Pass, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and lesser known, but no less spectacular, La Veta Pass. When I drive such roads, I slow down, partly out of a sense of safety, but mostly out of a desire to take in the view. That's hard to do when you are rounding a Wolf Creek S-turn at 50 mph! But, by driving slowly, I sometimes draw the ire of of other motorists, drivers who treat the highway as some Autobahn road course, drivers who are obviously not captivated by the spectacular world of mountains snow, forests and rivers around them and more consumed by the clock and schedules to keep.

But, I'm guilty of the same thing, of living life in the fast lane. I am a workaholic. I always have been. Working hard and being devoted to one's employment are admirable qualities, but a person needs balance in life. A life does need to be defined by busyness, yet for so many of us it is. And, such busyness often wreaks havoc on our health, on our mental sanity, on our relationships . . . on our spiritual health. A personal confession: I'm sadly fully aware that my busyness had a negative impact on my marriage. (Unfortunately, preachers have a tendency of majoring in busyness and rationalize it by saying that it necessary service to the church and the Lord.)

One of the first lessons taught in Scripture is the need for rest, and it us learned from God Himself. "And on the seventh day, God rested from his labors." Its no incidental comment. It says something about life, about a necessity for living good and productive and worthwhile lives. We need time away from our work, we need to slow down once in a while and enjoy life, to be consumed by those special people around us and not by the tasks that we allow to build us, to be satisfied with what we've accomplished and not be consumed by the drive for more, and to stop and reflect on the reality that all that we have and enjoy is not merely the product of our labors but blessings from the One who has created all.

"Longish." I'm not sure that is a real word, but it certainly illustrates the hurried world in which we live. As for me, I'm very much looking forward to a "longish" Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I can already commend to you the "longish" Iron Man and Prince Caspian.