Slowing life down

Life moves at break-neck speed. Are we built for speed, pressure, stress of this magnitude?

My Amish Rocking Chair

My Amish Rocking Chair

I answered “Yes!” until hearing impairment garbled the sounds, muted the music, confused conversations, and made solitary moments my preferable times of day. I chose slowness over speed, ease over pressure, peace over stress – an end to the vocation of active ministry with a loving congregation.

“How’s retirement?”

Life is slower. I share the quiet with Kay and our canine friend Barclay. I write a lot, which was my intention as the hearing loss progressed.

Still, I’m addicted to speed. Between my MacBook Air and iMac, I’m still dependent on speed – the speed of the internet. The speed of instantaneous communication. The speed of news makes my head ache. I can’t keep up. The pressure builds in my head. My heart gets heavy. Not a good thing, I think, for a privileged person who chose solitude over crowds, silence over confusion, low-pressure and low-stress over high-pressure and high-stress.

Slowing life down is a spiritual thing. The Amish rocking chair in our living room reminds me of the virtue of spiritual simplicity. But I rarely sit in it. I rarely sit and rock without my MacBook Air. The speed, pressure, and stress are in my head or, as the Hebrew ancients would say, in my heart. My heart and head don’t easily un-learn what they’ve been taught. But it seems now that un-learning, not learning, is the privilege and task of solitude.

“Barclay, want to go up and take a nap with Dad?” Barclay races up the stairs and takes his place at the foot of the bed. If I’m late with the invitation, he comes to get me for our intimate hour with no speed, no pressure, no stress – and no MacBook Air!

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, February 5, 2016.


Hormones Mixed with Gasoline

Cushman Eagle Motor Scooter

Cushman Eagle

In the mid-’50s, Illinois (and maybe

other foolish States) for just a year

or two allowed 15 year olds to pay

a small fee for what was a lawn-mower

engine on two wheels:  a motor scooter

built by a guy named Cushman.  And for less

than $400 I bought a new

top-of-the-line Eagle.  It had two gears,

a clutch, and a weak horn that barely made

the boys on bikes glance at me going by.

Like me, most scooter riders must have paid,

as well, for bones reset–for with a high

speed of 50, many kids of 15

would crash when hormones mixed with gasoline.

– Steve “You-Know-Who” of WILL was lucky. He got a Cushman Eagle as a kid. Here’s a another guy who wasn’t so fortunate, but who had to wait until he was 60. Look in on the family Christmas. It’s enough to make a grown man cry, in the best of all ways..with joy.