Chaplain’s thoughts … Hurry up and slow down

A phrase that we’ve all become too familiar with is COVID-19. Many of us are well acquainted to this name, which fundamentally changed the course of our world within months of its onset. What’s startling to me is how far we’ve moved from its insidious arrival and where we’re at today. It’s hard to believe that this name is already antiquated and relegated to an onset from two years ago. Where does time go? The big take away for me is that time really does fly. Since our time is flying, I encourage you to hurry up and slow down. Slow down? Allow me to illustrate. Life is a gift and we’re not promised tomorrow. In fact, life is already zipping by for those gifted the opportunity of today. This reflection calls to mind a relevant quote from a wise sage known as Master Oogway, who reminded the Dragon Warrior that, “Yesterday is history; tomorrow a mystery; today is a gift — that’s why it’s called the present,” (Kung Fu Panda, 2008).

I give you this perspective as an IMA Reservist, who drills on active duty for at least 24 days in the fiscal year. Working within this context allows me to see the uniqueness of the civilian and military worlds. It allows me to better understand how they’re similar and how they’re different. However, what I keep recognizing is the pace of acceleration within both contexts. Most of us sustain this arduous pace with an incredible juggling act. I’ll be the first to say that not only can this pace be exhausting, it’s also not sustainable. I’d venture to assert that these sustained periods of exhaustion not only keep us from stopping to smell the roses, but also appear to make time disappear. The potential outcome is that life may be passing us by as we’re too busy to stop and enjoy what we have here and now — the beautiful gift of life.

As I stop to contemplate these words, I can’t help but bring an existential perspective to this seemingly simple, yet often ignored, observation. So, what’s my insight? Unfortunately, I’m not a great sage like Master Oogway, but I do know a great book that gives us some great words of wisdom. From my faith tradition, in the Book of Psalms, we’re told to, “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). These ancient words of wisdom still ring true today. I encourage you to make a conscious effort to slow down. In fact, hurry up and slow down. Decelerate your life and use your time to appreciate what you have today. Go out for a walk. Stare into the clouds. Find nothing to do. Relax. Enjoy what you have now and find the leisure of simplicity that has been lost in our culture, for life is a vapor. What you have today is a gift, so hurry up and slow down to enjoy it. 

For more information, or to speak with a Chaplain or Religious Affairs Airman, please contact Luke AFB Chapel:  856-6211.

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