go slow, respect others

 

This is a sign that I’ve seen probably hundreds of times along the many shared walkways and bike paths in New York City. Recently, I noticed it in a new way.

Go Slow, Respect Others.IMG_7954

It was like God speaking right into my life. That morning, I’d been frustrated with my son. He was supposed to be getting dressed for school and instead of putting on his pants, he stripped off all of his clothes and proceeded to run around the room shouting, “Naked dance! Naked dance!” (He’s three-and-a-half, after all.) Then he kept getting distracted by one thing or another and it felt like this simple task of getting dressed was taking for-ever. And I, of course, wanted to get out the door.

Then there’s my daughter. She’s at that “do-it-myself” stage. This includes walking instead of riding in the stroller. We live on a steep hill. She wants to walk up the hill. On a recent morning, the whole family left at the same time. I walked more quickly up the hill with my son, and at the top we turned around to check on the progress of Sister. She was only a few yards behind, and the grin on her face was bright enough to see for a mile. I’m almost there! She beamed. I’m a big girl now, like Brother!

This sign along the river isn’t just for bikers. This sign is for me. It’s telling me to slow down. To enjoy these moments of my children’s lives. And to enter in, just where they are. To respect where they are – what they are learning to do, what their desires are, where their curiosities lead.

Go Slow, Respect Others.

**IMG_7917

My son has been learning about the Ten Commandments in his Sunday School class, and last week they discussed how the last six commandments are about loving others. (Note the worksheet he got to take home. Sorry about the pen marks…) We often say: “in our family, we love,” and with the aid of this nifty worksheet, we’ve been talking about ways to love others.

I can love the grocery store checker by asking, How are you, today? After I give my nod hello. (Believe me, this is rare in New York City – especially at the grocery store.) I can respect her and her work better than I have been. I can slow down and engage with her instead of trying to pack all the items into my reusable bags and get my store card scanned and prepare my keys and enter in my credit card all so that I can move on to the next thing.

I can slow down when my husband asks me to take five minutes to sit on the couch with him after we get the kids to bed and before we start our own evening work. I can respect his desire to reconnect and reestablish companionship after a long, hard day of co-laboring or being apart.

Go Slow, Respect Others.

**

My son is never in a hurry. Never. He’s extremely curious – and also easily distractible. Whether we are walking down the street, cleaning up the toys, brushing his teeth, or eating dinner – he’s taking it slowly. Because he’s taking it all in. He’s asking a million questions or telling me, slowly, a message that I have for you or explaining what a friend had for lunch or recounting where every member of our family is currently.

Even though my son has more energy than any other person I’ve ever met – he takes things slowly.

How can I do the same?

God also tells us to slow down. To take Sabbath rest.

Do not run until your feet are bare
and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
I love foreign gods,
and I must go after them.’

Jeremiah 2:25

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. . . For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.”

Exodus 20: 8-11

 One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.

Ecclesiastes 4: 6-8

It’s hard to rest in our productivity-driven society. We want to strive until we can strive no more. We run after the “foreign gods” of accomplishments and achievements. It’s hard to go slow.

There is a certain burden to taking a Sabbath. It’s difficult to let go of the work that remains undone when it’s time to rest. We don’t value a slow life. We don’t always value making time for relationships, asking curious questions, enjoying the discovery of walking up a hill.

Rest is so important to God that HE rested. Jesus rested. We are all commanded to rest.

Do I rest? Do I trust God enough to leave work undone? Do I trust, really trust, that He WILL provide? That, if I choose to rest, I will accomplish the things that I truly need to accomplish? (What are those things, anyway?)

I’m a product-driven, hard-working kind of gal. I generally don’t rest until things are DONE. Or until I collapse into bed. Yet, God calls us – He calls me – to rest. He calls me to slow down, and He calls me to love the people around me. It’s easier to appreciate the people around me if I slow down enough to see – really see – them, where they are in life, what their lives are like. It’s easier to love my life and the people in it, when I slow down enough to see my blessings.

Go Slow, Respect Others.

This is for us all.

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4 Comments

Filed under children, contentment, God, god & faith, Uncategorized

4 responses to “go slow, respect others

  1. Jessica

    This hits deep. I felt like this post was describing me and the kinds of things I am dealing with in this area. It’s so easy to get carried away and go from being a responsible and conscientious person to being someone who can only trust myself to get things done. Forget the God of the universe taking care of me! Thank goodness that people and children are not all the same and that we can all help each other along!

  2. Mags

    Especially as a NY’er, I catch myself plowing down the sidewalk as if everyone is in my way… Ugh! Must go slower, learn to respect others…

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