Slow Me Down Lord!

“God’s Word refers to the Christian life often as a walk, seldom as a run, and never as a mad dash.” – Steven J. Cole

John on VacationBusy! If I was going to describe the San Diego lifestyle with just one word it would be busy. So much is happening and it seems like everyone is racing just to keep even with the incredibly busy pace of life and that often applies to church (Just look at the Church Calendar!), but once in a while something will happen that reminds us to slow down. This story from Tim Hansel’s book, When I Relax, I Feel Guilty, illustrates this point:

Jimmy Durante was asked to be a part of a show for WWII veterans. He told them his schedule was very busy and he could afford only a few minutes, but if they wouldn’t mind his doing one short monologue and immediately leaving for his next appointment, he would come. Of course, the show’s director agreed happily.

But when Jimmy got on stage, something interesting happened. He went through the short monologue and then stayed. The applause grew louder and louder and he kept staying. Finally he took a last bow and left the stage. Backstage someone stopped him and said, “I thought you had to go after a few minutes. What happened?”

Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed. You can see for yourself if you’ll look down on the front row.” In the front row were two men, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that’s exactly what they were doing, loudly and cheerfully.

Slow Me Down, Lord

Orin L. Crain

Slow me down, Lord.

Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me, amid the confusion of the day,

the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and

muscles with the soothing music of the

singing streams that live in my memory.

Teach me the art of taking minute

vacations — of slowing down to look at a

flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog,

to smile at a child, to read a few lines

from a good book.

Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to

send my roots down deep into the soil of life’s enduring

values, that I may grow toward my greater destiny.

Remind me each day that the race is not

always to the swift; that there is more to life

than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward to the towering oak

and know that it grew great and strong

because it grew slowly and well.





John’s solo flight at age 15

When I was fourteen I worked at a little uncontrolled airport in Issaquah, Washington. During the week it was a dairy farm and on weekends the cows were penned up so sailplanes and skydivers could use the pastures as a runway. My job was to clean up the gliders, hook up tow cables and run along side them balancing their wings until they could get up enough speed to take off. I was working in exchange for flying lessons.

I didn’t really understand what “uncontrolled” meant until one fateful day the cows got out. Bessie and her cohorts charged out onto the runway/pasture just as a glider was coming in for a landing. At the very same time, the tow plane was landing from the other direction and a poor parachutist, on his very first jump, was coming down in the middle of it all. It was a sight to see!

Fortunately the tow plane pilot saw what was happening and pulled up in time to fly over the glider. Someone jumped into an antique Jeep and roared down the “runway” parting the bovine sea ahead of the unfortunate sailplane. Red and white sailplane landing, blue and white power plane flying straight up, poor terrified skydiver coming straight down and a very silly looking stampede of black and white milk cows racing in all directions.

Unbelievably, no one was hurt (although it did take a while to revive the parachutist after we dug him out from under his billowing white drape). No one will ever forget the chaos of that afternoon.

Does life ever seem that chaotic to you? People coming and going – demands on time, energy and those few precious moments you were saving? The fourth of the Ten Commandments says, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” This commandment recognizes people need time to stop, think and put everything back into perspective. Why wait for the weekend though? It’s time for a pause right now.