There was a hit country and western song some years back with this refrain:
I’m in a hurry to get things done/Well, I rush and rush until life’s no fun/All I really gotta do is live and die/But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why
It seems the popularity of that song could have been the fact that so many people in Western culture (Americans, in particular) can relate to its message. The “rat race”, the “to do” list, and the attending “road rage” are shared and common images in our culture. Knowing that others are as out of sorts as we are makes us feel that we are not alone, right?
In addition, if that’s the way it is, maybe we should just learn to grin and bear it After all, removing ourselves from the status quo, changing, is scary and a discipline and hard work. The truth is the “quick, get me a band-aid” balm that we all want so badly in order to continue on our own well-worn path, with its arteries of impulses and ingrained habits, creates such lasting infections of mind, body, and soul that the journey back to any semblance of wholeness becomes treacherous indeed.
We do not need a specialist to tell us that this manner of living is not healthy. But the questions remains: what do we do? There remains a chasm between knowing something is out of whack and doing something about it. For me, God bridges that ravine. Developing a relationship with the God of my understanding has given me the wide perspective of eternity and a comfort that I am being cradled in God’s ever and ever presence. God is the breath that I take and closer than that. With this knowledge, I can challenge that clamor of my days with the breadth of my life.
Like all relationships, this takes commitment, time, and attention. The fruit of blending the rushed routine of our everyday self with the person who we are, way down deep, is a kind of spiritual maturity that does not jump at every tugging. Of course, in order to find a slower cadence in the flurry of daily activities requires us to stop at intervals throughout the day. In my experience, without time for prayer and meditation, true inner peace cannot be sustained in any meaningful way.
Once an ongoing sense of the Presence of God has been established in the subtleties that encompass and extend well beyond the epiphany moments of our lives, the roominess of eternity can get good and cozy in our souls. The erratic pace kept up in averting the eyes from death, is like the proverbial ghost in the closet. He frightens us less and less, as we come to know him more and more.
From the lazy river of a timeless spirit, our cup overflows. We can promote peace, bring mercy, and be comforted. We can then wholeheartedly ask that “Thy will be done.” As Howard Thurman states, “the will of God is native to my spirit. It is the fundamental character of me. It is the foundation of my mental, physical, and spiritual structure. It is what I find when I am most myself. It is what I find when I get down to the deepest things in me. It is what is revealed when all the superficial things are sloughed off and I am essentially laid bare.” Then, and only then, can Thy will be done.