running on busy…


© photo by michelle bryant

Are you running so busy in your life that you are completely exhausted? Things in your world so hasty that perhaps you’ve even been caught driving, talking on the cell phone and passed your exit or waited for what seemed like forever for a table at a restaurant, finally gotten it and then not even tasted your meal? Or perhaps you’ve swiped your card before the cashier was even through scanning your merchandise and then gotten home and realized you‘d forgotten to get something? I believe that in today’s fast-paced world of “conveniences” we have lost our sense of patience and that kindness is rapidly falling by the waste side as well.

To me, all this busy-ness is what adds to our craziness. Take the missed exit for example. What if you simply called the person and said that you missed your exit and are running late, turned around – slowly and then got there when you got there? No stress. Fewer accidents. A loss of a life is not worth a few extra minutes someone has to wait in a board meeting or whatever the case may be, seriously.  If THEY missed the exit they would appreciate and maybe evenexpect you to understand and wait for them, right? Besides, what if you attempted to high-tailed it there and DID get in a fatal accident? How would THAT phone call play into the meeting’s agenda? Seriously, It’s just a few extra minutes in your day. Slow down. Avoid the stress.

What about the table at the restaurant? Yes, you might get there and there may be several empty tables and you wonder why you have to wait ten minutes. If you are on a limited hour lunch break go someplace that offers quicker lunches and avoid that stress in your day. Fact is, you have no idea why there are so many empty tables. Maybe it’s a shift change. Maybe some servers called out. Maybe there is a leak problem in that specific area – who knows. Do you REALLY need to add THAT stress in your life? Why not take the opportunity while you’re waiting to sit outside if you can and enjoy the sunshine. Just take a deep breath (when was the last time you got to do that?) Just relax. Then when you get your food you can eat it slowly, savoring each and every bite and actually taste it and avoid the stress.

And swiping the card prematurely? Inevitably swiping your card before the cashier has even finished scanning your merchandise often leads to computer glitches that what??.. make you swipe the card again. So what’s the point of being in such a hurry? Plus, isn’t it advantageous to watch the cashier and make sure they don’t ring something up twice or that they get all the marked- down items correct and so forth? I mean how much “time” are you REALLY saving by swiping early or better yet wasting by having to swipe it again? Usually this also leads to aggravation, due to impatience on either party and can result in an unpleasant shopping experience (and who wants that?). So, be patient. Wait to swipe. Avoid the stress.

These few examples put together, if avoided, in a single day wouldn’t cost you but an extra FEW minutes and truly life is too short to fly by with the stress of such pettiness. And yet in the midst of all this hurriedness lies frustration that causes us to stop noticing people… especially as people. Did you notice what color hair your server had today or the color of your cashier’s eyes or better yet either of their names? What happened to the days when you walked in the store and said, “Hey Mardge, I just came to get three pounds of sugar and a loaf of bread. Wow, you got your hair done! It looks lovely.?”

I once heard a story of a server who gave mediocre service. She just seemed to have her mind on other things. Although she smiled, was friendly enough and his glass was filled promptly and so forth she was simply not as attentive in her serving him as he would like to have been treated for this particular restaurant. The customer left her a sizeable tip in spite of her service, as was his policy to bless anyway. He ran into to the manager after eating his meal and when asked how everything was, mentioned his disgruntlement. The manager explained that she had lost her mother in a car wreck that morning but knew if she stayed home she would not be able to hold it together. She needed to be surrounded by people and friends at work. Would you have left a sizeable tip or would you base your tip on the service instead of seeing the person as a person? Point is, why can’t we take the few extra minutes for those around us? It would be a much nicer place to live for ALL of us. A much less selfish, self-centered place as well.

The word “wait” appears over a hundred times in the Bible. It must be an attribute that God considered important. And God says he will bless us if we slow down and wait. Isaiah 40:31says: but those who wait in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. How wonderful to take the stressful moments in our lives, give them to God and know that we will not grow tired and faint if we do.

Maybe it’s me but my minutes are precious and I am constantly looking for ways and opportunities to “distress” my life. Especially in my day to day routine. For example, I look at red lights now as little gifts from God instead of nuisances. A time to sit back for a quick moment and take a deep breath, close my eyes, say a quick prayer maybe and get a super charge. Of course sometimes I run across someone behind me blowing his horn who hasn’t gotten this message yet. So this is for you. Slow down. It’s just a few seconds really. Take the time. Avoid the stress.

© michelle bryant

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