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“Time is the mother of presence,” writes Irish poet John O Donohue. I came across this in a recent podcast by Pete Scazzero - a podcast on finding an anchor in this wilderness of uncertainty we find ourselves in.

Stress can have a way of making us a victim of time – twisting and distorting our relationship with time. It can be easy to get to the end our days and realize we had almost no time, no moments, to be, to relax.

We can find ourselves driven, rushing, feeling as if there is never quite enough time in our days. Anyone relate?

The impact on our mental health is not always great. The pace of our lives, the temptations even now to speed our lives up again, to increase our productivity, to fill our schedules again – can easily tip us into languishing mental health. And if not – it can leave us on the brink of being tipped in that direction. 

Our disordered relationship with time puts such pressure and strain on our lives – it can be hard to sustain our sense of wellbeing - living on the edge. What if there is another way to live? A slower way?

What’s more – coming back to O Donohue – we can live in such a rushed way that we are not really present – to ourselves, to God, to others. There may be physical presence (our bodies do occupy space after all) – but emotionally, mentally, spiritually – we are all over the place. Distracted. Impatient. Not really present.

What if this time of living through a pandemic was an opportunity to reset our rhythms and slow down?

Miriam Swanson, in a recent Sanctuary podcast, invites us to reflect on the benefits of recovering rhythms of rest and slowness.

Slowing down. Learning to simply BE. Discovering that WHO we are is vastly more important than WHAT we do or produce. "I am simply enough. God is enough in me." Can we say that? Can YOU?

Swanson shares how her own rhythms of daily walks, extended time in God’s Word, time set aside to simply be and observe creation, more time in silence, more time in prayer - are sustaining her during this time.

These rhythms of slowness and rest can be life-giving. As she shares her own lived experience, it resonates deep in my soul.

What if COVID-19 becomes a time for us to become weaned of our addiction to busyness? To become weaned of our addiction to endlessly consume things and experiences? What if there is an invitation in all of this to find a different pace of life? To slow down.

To discover that in slowing down – we become more present to ourselves. More present to God. More present to those around us. Stillness – inside. Stillness in God’s presence. Stillness with others.

We may even find that we become more satisfied with being enough – untethering our identities and worth from what we can produce or accomplish. We may even find meaning in the everyday, mundane, things of our day-to-day living.

Let me encourage you to SLOW DOWN.

-Pastor Tim