TIME FLIES !
It seems only 5 minutes ago that I was writing my letter for the first edition of PAX for 2019 and thanking everybody for their help over Christmas.....and now, in the blink of an eye, I’m focussing on Easter! How did that happen so fast?!! Sometimes it seems like the world is on ‘fast-forward’. My grand-mother often said that time goes faster the older you get and I’m beginning to believe that to be true! Since I returned from my post-Christmas break, this last month has certainly seemed to gallop by at an alarming rate.
I spent a glorious week in Norfolk at the end of January and whilst much of Hertfordshire seemed to shiver in the snow, I was strolling on the beach with my dog in the blazing sun......well ok, perhaps not exactly ‘blazing’ but it did feel more like spring than winter! That week seemed to go on for ages. I enjoyed leisurely breakfasts as I watched the sun rise, walked for miles along the coast with Toby, my dog, taking in the peaceful beauty of empty beaches that seemed to go on for ever. I read books in the afternoon and sat with a glass or two of wine to watch the sun set, marvelling as the bright red ball of fire seemed to extinguish itself in the sea. It was like someone had pressed the pause button on life and I could really take in every minute detail of the world. I guess that’s what holidays should really be about.
And then I came home! As soon as I picked up my diary, the world seemed to gather speed at an alarming rate and before I knew it I was back to eating my breakfast whilst I worked at my computer, juggling regular commitments with whatever crisis had just arisen and squeezing in a hurried dog walk before he drove me mad with his sad little eyes and annoying whine!! And here I am, one month on, Christmas forgotten and Easter looming, wondering just how we all came to live life at this mad pace.
I think that perhaps the answer that came to me was that we, as a society, have lost the knack of simply enjoying each moment as we live it, always looking to the next thing rather than savouring what is in front of us. When did that become the norm, and how can we as individuals fight against it in order to reclaim a little more balance in our lives?
I remember when I was a child that I was never allowed to gobble my food whilst doing something else, nor was I allowed to get away with shovelling down a meal quickly in order to get out to play sooner as, even if I finished first, I still had to wait ‘until my dinner went down’ before I could go out! It occurred to me as I pondered the pace of my life now that I was still in a rush to get to the next thing.....here I am, bemoaning how quickly time passes and looking forwards to Easter.....whilst forgetting that in order to get to the joys that come at Easter, we
have to journey through Lent first!
Lent is a time when we should stop and take stock of where we are at, a time for reflection and change and a refocussing on Christ and his ultimate sacrifice for us all. Traditionally, the forty days in Lent were marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. However, in modern times, observers often choose to give up an action of theirs considered to be
a vice, or add something that helps them to come a little closer to God, and also to give of their time or money to a charitable purpose or organization.
So I think that this year, at the grand old age of 53, I may finally take some advice from my mother and grand-mother and try to learn to slow down a little! I’m going to try to journey through Lent at a gentler pace and give up looking at the next thing before I’ve had time to enjoy the present.....or that’s the plan at least!! Perhaps if I can make my Lenten discipline the promise to spend breakfast each morning savouring the moment, noticing what I am eating and allowing God the chance to get a word in edgeways before I launch myself into the day, I might just arrive at Easter looking a little less dishevelled!!