July 24, 2010

An Unhurried Life

Twenty years ago my sister, Judy, and I had a teacher’s store in Texas. Someone told us that we should write a mission statement for the store. So we did. We didn’t know a whole lot about running a store so anything anyone suggested-we did.

Our Mission…To be actively involved in the education of children by assisting, encouraging, motivating and inspiring their teachers.

This mission statement served us well. It kept us on track and helped us remember why we were in business.

The statement remains my professional mission statement. Tomorrow, I leave to do a workshop on Monday for 100 teachers in New Jersey.  I always try to close with my thought for the day. My hope is that it might encourage, motivate, or inspire someone....maybe you! 

This is from a book called The Life You Always Wanted. These are the thoughts of John Ortberg. It has a message for us all.

An Unhurried Life.....The Practice of "Slowing"
Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend seeking some direction for my life. I told him about the rhythms of my family life and about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do to be spiritually healthy?

Long pause…

“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,” he said.

Another long pause….

“Okay, I’ve written that one down,” I told him. “That’s a good one. Now what else is there?”

Another long pause….

“There is nothing else,” he said.

Just that…..
There is nothing else.
You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.

The danger is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for the mediocre version of life. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.

The Disease: Hurry Sickness
We suffer from what has come to be known as “hurry sickness”. One of the great illusions of our day is that hurrying will buy us more time.

We worship at the shrine of the Golden Arches, not because they sell “good food”, or even “cheap food”, but because it is “fast food”. Even after fast food was introduced, people still had to park their cars, go inside, and take their food to a table, all of which took time. So we invented the Drive-Thru lane to enable families to eat in vans, as nature intended.

Here are the symptoms of Hurry Sickness

Constantly speeding up daily activities
How many times a day do you say, “Hurry up and finish your work, your lunch, getting dressed……?”
“Quit messing around!" " Hurry Up!”

This could also be called "doing more than one thing at a time", but that takes too long.
Hurry-sick people may drive, eat, drink coffee, apply make-up….all at the same time. How many of you had breakfast in the car while driving this morning? (Mothers are particularly adapt at multi-tasking.)

Life is cluttered when we are weighed down by the burden of all the things we have failed to say NO to. Then, comes the clutter of forgetting important dates, of missing appointment, of not following through.

Today we have largely traded WISDOM for information. We have exchanged DEPTH for breadth. Think of your most recent conversation with a friend….How would you describe it?  Any depth???

An inability to love
The most serious sign of hurry sickness is a diminished capacity to LOVE. Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love takes time!

Sunset fatigue
When we come home at night at the end of a day’s work, those who need our love the most, those to whom we are most committed, end up getting the leftovers. Sunset fatigue is when we are just too tired, or too drained, or too preoccupied, to love the people to whom we have made the deepest promises.

The Cure for Hurry Sickness

We have to cultivate this practice and deliberately choose to slow down!

Find time for yourself! One of the greatest obstacles to solitude is that frequently it may feel like a waste of time. This may happen partly because we are conditioned to feel that our existence is justified only when we are doing something.

At its heart, solitude is primarily about not doing something.

It is so hard for us as teachers to not be doing something……

So today for just a little while slow down and do nothing……

Take out your bubbles
and as Lauren Bacall said to Humphrey Bogart, 
“Just put your lips together and blow!”


let's just blow bubbles,

For no good reason,

let's just blow bubbles.

Laugh a little, watch them disappear,

not even wonder where.

Smile and touch the rainbow colors

watch them float in the air.

No reason why--

no goals--no structure.


let's just

blow bubbles...

One of my favorite books is called Sanity Savers by Sharon MacDonald. All of us at one time or another feels as if our sanity is hanging on by a thread. This is her advise….

    On difficult days, teachers benefit from blowing bubbles......

                If the day has been particularly difficult
                and you need to do a lot bubble blowing,
               wait until the children are gone for the day.

1 comment:

  1. This blog is GREAT and so was your workshop today in Saddle Brook (Hi Tommie...I'm the girl you moved to the front HAHA)! I love that I can find all your information in 1 place now!
    Thanks Again,