“Make haste slowly” is the ancient Roman way of saying, “You’ll get more done if you stop running around like a crazy person.” I’ll share with you a goal I set last weekend: to move slower and avoid snap decisions. The resolution lasted about five minutes and I pretty much forgot about it until yesterday, when the thought popped up, “Where did that good intention go?”
Here’s how the goal came about. Virtue is about putting love into action, like being patient with co-workers or taking a ham and Swiss to Ray, the corner panhandler. We can always be looking for ways to grow virtue and shrink obstacles to it.
Moving too fast grows out of a desperation that takes away from our ability to approach everything with love. In other words, habitual rushing reveals a lack of trust in Divine Providence that deters growth in virtue. It sends the message, “Everything depends on me and my projects. If I don’t do this now, the world will collapse.”
Fear is the enemy of love, and habitual rushing expresses fear. Not to say pride. I think that rushing is also a kind of drug that keeps us from having to face uncertainty and our own deficits. In glossing over uncertainty, I realized I was missing opportunities to engage heart-to-heart with other people – a crucial aspect of a happy life.
So, the resolution to slow down lasted five minutes and went dormant for days. Not a reason to be discouraged, though – the first step had been taken! The only mistake now would be to try again what didn’t work before. So, what to do differently this time?
First thought was to wear a rubber band on my wrist as a reminder. Good start – let’s do it. If a better idea comes later, we’ll switch to that.
I keep in a dish the bands I take off bunches of broccoli and scallions — empty today. There has to be one in the kitchen junk-drawer – one rubber band, too small. Three drawers later, I find the rubber band I’m wearing now. And I’m typing this blog post slower than normal, just so I can tell you I did.
Anybody notice a missing part? Right! I’m making all these decisions without taking time to ask God to help me. I’ll be right back….
Okay — Slowing Down 2.0 is launched. I’d love to hear your stories of creativity and perseverance in removing obstacles to your spiritual growth.
Wish me luck!