We were busily rushing around in our everyday lives when Covid brought New Zealand to a grinding halt. Someone in high places pushed the ‘pause’ button, and we were caught unprepared for the imposition of lock-down. As a linguist, I research language, and the frequency of usage of phrases around ‘speed’ signify the pressure we apply to daily life. We run errands, drive impatiently in rush hour. We hurry up, and race through chores. We appreciate fast food, and drive on expressways. We live our lives on ‘fast forward’ – until we’re run down.
I recently had a heart health check which involved both riding an exer-cycle and walking on a treadmill. The latter sped up and I was outpaced, running hard to stand still. It made me think that much of our busy-ness in life is equally ineffective in helping us move forward. The doctor’s stethoscope identified that I’m still alive, but his wry comment was “I’m getting the busy signal!” He also advised me to use more brake and less accelerator at my age!
I recall my Grandma Gertrude had an embroidered wall hanging which read:
“THE HURRIEDER I GO THE BEHINDER I GET”
I told her that some words were incorrectly spelled! Now I understand the sentiment, the pointlessness of frenetically rushing around. So much of modern life is under pressure. We dash from one appointment to another, squeezing the maximum events and duties into every twenty four hours.
Then came COVID. Almost immediately, our engines were reduced to idling. There’s no place to be other than home. Living alone, widowed with an ‘empty nest,’ I’m under no pressure to perform or please others. I had plane tickets and a bag packed ready to spend Easter in Matamata with some of my grandchildren. Thanks to Covid, the brake has certainly been applied to travel, even movement locally. Compulsory isolation imposed is curbing our social and sporting, professional and family life. While we mark time, we appreciate those essential workers who are clearing our trash, delivering mail, treating our sick and keeping the wheels turning through the trials. (My three sons are all working through the pandemic in essential services.) We owe these upright citizens our lasting gratitude.
Confession time. I have yet to change my alarm clock from summer to winter time. Evidently my body requires more sleep than I’ve hitherto allowed myself. My animals are happy about this, they don’t want their mealtimes moved by attempts to manipulate time. I am not alone in my bubble; God is Head of my home and life. He is with me in my bubble, which we share with my dogs, cat, and many rescued birds.
Slowing down is good for us all. Being still give us time to think more deeply. Leisurely walks with fur buddies enables us to observe more of the beauty of autumn. We’re living more simply and cheaply. We’re recognizing what is energy-sapping. We become more aware of our homes, what improvements we can make, what routines we should change, which chores need to be done, what maintenance we have neglected. Without shops open to provide conveniences, we begin to be more innovative. We set our own pace, accept our limitations and find things every day to thank God for.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me….” (Psalm 23.)
Enjoy extra time with God.