Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Walk Slow

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe--but believe that you may understand. -St. Augustine

I walk fast. My natural gait is not an ambling one. I'm a mover. For someone of my height (which is short, mind you), I've got long-ish legs. My sister used to yell and whine when we would walk home from the bus stop because I would quickly outpace her. "Slow down! You walk too fast!"

In the 5th grade, my school held a fundraiser in which the students and teachers participated. You raised money from your sponsors for every lap you went around the blue track. I distinctly remember my friends repeatedly asking me to slow down because I was walking too fast. "Ashley must be a power walker or something."

My brief middle school stint in track and field had me run the 800 meter and 4x800meter relay, and I was actually pretty good there for awhile. I wasn't a sprinter, but I sure as heck couldn't do the 1600m and whatever else was super long, the half-mile was my thing. Good times.

I remember in middle school and for the early part of high school, I always imagined what my future would be like. I would daydream different scenarios. Those scenarios usually were about college and related years. But then, when I would arrive to that next chunk of time/transition point, I would pine for the days of old.

Now though, instead of dreaming about it, I'm actually living it. Not that any of my ideas came true (did they? I'll have to think about that), but you get the idea. I went from fiction to reality. I look back and think, wow, that school year went by really quick. Was I really in middle school that long ago? High school? Funny that during a school year or even just one semester, I find myself way too excitedly checking off days on the syllabus as I plow through the semester. I want it over now! During, it takes forever. After, it feels like nothing much went on, and I'm left with proof that the semester actually happened because I have graded exams and papers.

Sometimes, I feel that life moves too fast. But when I really get down to it, the earth isn't moving any faster. I am the one who is going too fast. There are days or even weeks where I don't slow down. I just go, go, go. Being from a culture where time has to be measurable and where it is something to have, to share, to waste, to whatever...that only compounds this feeling of moving too fast.

I came across the aforementioned St. Augustine quote, and in conjunction with a few lines from...you guessed it...a new Mumford & Sons song that I discovered literally by accident the other day, I have come to realize that I do go through life too fast sometimes. I don't see.

In order to understand, to process, to be present, to see, I must slow down. If I walk too fast, I try to understand and then believe...when it should really be the other way around as St. Augustine pointed out. It's hard though, for me at least, to believe when I'm moving too fast. So I need to walk slower in order to believe so that I may understand.

But my humanness makes it difficult sometimes to just stop and slow down, and I need help to get me where I am supposed to be. I need to live my life for God and for no other, including that pesky little thing called time, which we humans think can be bottled up and put into a clock.

The song in which I discovered that "understanding = walking slow(er)" deals with a different subject matter all together, but I don't really care. Particular stanzas just speak to me! Listen to the song here, por favor. It's great.

From "Lover's Eyes" by Mumford & Sons:


And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, help me on my way.
And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, I'll be on my way.

And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, help me on my way.
And I'll walk slow, I'll walk slow
Take my hand, I'll be on my way.


Take my hand, Lord, help me on my way.

Help us slow down so that we may believe and then understand.

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