There once was a speedy hare that bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.
Hare ran down the road for a while and then paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”
Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.” Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line. The animals that were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.
Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. The tortoise was over the line. After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"
Since we were children, we have heard the moral that a "slow and steady" pace wins the race. This notion seems to work well for preschoolers, elementary and even high school students. But does this moral apply to adults? Does it consider what it means to juggle finances, relationships, and work all at once? Call me crazy, but I’m not too sure that Aesop understood what it means to be so busy!
Busyness is all around us. There is probably a good chance that you have said things like: "It'll only take a minute," "I've got to run," "I'm tired of being tired," and "I'm so busy…I don't have enough time to complete all my work." Perhaps you have overheard a friend using the words busy, tired, and stressed while words like peace, rest, and refreshed don’t seem to be part of their vocabulary.
We rush to get things done—with cell phones attached to our faces. We plan for the future, and we're easily distracted from conversations when we hear that electronic chirp from an incoming text message. We have so many things scheduled for us that sometimes we don’t even have enough time for eating. The truth is that we're all swamped. And if we had enough time to stop and think about it, we'll probably discover that we're too busy.
We look forward to a break between the meetings, family and our social-life routine. We all need a break, but given our busy schedule, we doubt that we have time for one. We've become victims of busyness, and there's just too much to do and not enough time to get it done! If you’re anything like me, you need a break.
Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, provides us with a three-day weekend break. While there's a strong chance that some last minute issue will pop up, especially if you’re a pastor, I hope that you take at least some time on today to recharge your batteries. I’ll be doing the same thing this Labor Day since much of my weekend I will be traveling a lot.
At some point on Monday, I will spend a reasonable period of having Q & G. What’s Q & G? It’s Quincy and God time where I take a moment to rest, relax, recharge and ask God’s forgiveness for my jack-rabbit-like impatience, addiction to speed, busyness, and procrastination.
Q & G is my Sabbath—a time where I step back from life’s usual routine to rapid-fire hurriedness to pace myself and reconnect with my natural rhythm for life. It is quality time where I do the things that I love: spending time with my Dionne, watching reruns of my favorite theologian: Fred G. Sanford from Sanford and Son, and listening to music. It’s time that I don’t allow the “busyness” of my life to crowd out rest and renewal from my routine.
My need for rest to balance the fast pace of my life makes me rethink my initial criticism of Aesop's fable. Perhaps, like the hare in the story, I judged his parable too quickly. Sadly, I admit that maybe I need this story to remind of my need to uncork and unwind. And like those cheesy 1970s McDonald’s commercials proclaimed, “You deserve a break today,” Labor Day gives me a chance to take a much-needed break.
I invite you to join me in making Sabbath rest part of your routine beginning with Labor Day. It doesn’t matter if it’s only 10-15 minutes per day. Intentionally slowing down for that amount of time will help you to recharge and find rest. Enjoy your day off. Schedule some you and God time to pace yourself. And whatever else you do, please try to “pump the breaks” in your life and slow down from a lightning pace, for slow and steady wins the race!”
On the Journey,