I find myself living in fear and anxiety over summer’s end when it has barely begun, already racing towards the chaos of school prep when the madness of school’s end has just passed. Why am I tumbling so far ahead when I have barely opened the gift of summer?
Right at the end of May, I bought Jennifer Dukes Lee’s newest book Growing Slow because slowness is something my soul is desperately crying out for. I longed for snow days this winter but e-learning has now eliminated those unexpected days off. I longed to settle down into winter, for hibernation and dormancy, but it felt absolutely impossible to slow down, even during the holidays. And now it feels the same, my anxiety ramping up towards the ending of this season when summer has hardly started. I want to slow down. I want to look at my hours and hold them loosely and gently, to allow myself to not do all the things, to linger in moments of quiet and stillness without feeling as though I am wasting them. I want to let go of this desperate-yet-detested drive to be “productive”.
In her introduction, Jennifer writes “You can get so rushed chasing a certain kind of remarkable life that you miss the fact that you are already standing inside the one that God gave you” (xvi). I feel that down into my aching, often-empty-feeling bones. Not that I am chasing a remarkable life but that I am constantly rushing and running to maintain said life. I know that our life is blessed and lovely and privileged and wonderful; we have been given marvelous opportunities…for our family, for our ministry, to be part of community…and I honestly live in constant fear that all that will crumble if I don’t keep hustling to make sure it doesn’t. If I don’t hustle, I won’t keep us fed. If I don’t rush and work, I won’t keep the lights on and the bills paid. I have taken so much responsibility onto my shoulders that I have found that I cannot slow down. And it’s destabilizing me.
In a recent issue of Bella Grace Magazine, there was an article titled “What If All I Want is a Mediocre Life?” I kid you not, dear Reader, my soul leapt and reached for that so adamantly that I actually thought it had left my body for a second. Mediocre in its original meaning: “ordinary”, “commonplace”. A simple life. No rushing, no excelling, no being “remarkable” like everyone seems to want to be these days. Just to do life quietly and perpetuate my own good in it day by day. Oh, I cannot describe to you how good and whole and lovely that sounds.
So, knowing where I am and where I want to get, I am going to be taking this journey into Growing Slow by Jennifer Dukes Lee and also Wintering by Katherine May over these summer months in an attempt to make my way back to slow. I know that this is a journey, not a quick fix. I need this slow time. I need to find a way back to it to give myself a fighting chance. You’re welcome to come with me as I learn from these wonderful women. You can find both of their beautiful books on Amazon.
Growing Slow by Jennifer Dukes Lee – Amazon
Wintering by Katherine May – Amazon