Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slow Down to Love

Yesterday morning I was walking my daughter to school as I do each day. We are often rushing, so this usually more closely resembles me nearly jogging as I pull her in tow than a leisurely walk. But I saw something today that caused me to put my breaks on--a man walking with his wife. The young woman was slightly bent over, walking extremely slowly and wincing in pain with every step. Immediately I was convicted and halted in my hasty steps. Looking up at me Sael asked, “What Mommy, what happened?” I felt a thought coagulating. My daughter is not ill or disabled, but she is a little person with much shorter legs than I have. Perhaps I should slow down. I then realized that this was not the first, but second time that I had encountered this same couple walking. The first time I held the apartment complex gate open as they slowly approached. She looked grateful in spite of her obvious discomfort. This time as I glance at them, he with briefcase in hand and patience in his countenance (her struggling to do a thing that nearly each of us takes for granted) I considered the fact that he must have had to give himself an extra half hour to an hour to make sure that he had adequate time to walk alongside his wife without making himself late for work. In that instant as I stood immobilized I saw this man as the epitome of devotion, patience and love.
I began to walk again. This time at Sael’s pace. I told her nothing at all was wrong and that I loved her. I let her pick up flowers and leaves, I answered her questions with care and detail and when we arrived at her school I reveled in my hug, kiss goodbye and, “I love you Mommy!”
Nowadays after dropping Sael off for school I go for a run. During my morning run I finally got it! Learning to slow down is learning to love better. This applies also to self-love. When I am taking my time, ordering my steps and creating peaceful spaces in my life through prayer, meditation, exercise and even making time to check up on family and friends, I am practicing love. When I take the time to prepare my food from scratch instead of eating out I am loving myself and my body rewards me by looking and feeling better. When I slow down enough to consider what I am about to say before I say it or think about the ways in which I may be at fault before being quick to place blame, I am loving others. When I allow my daughter to see that I have enough patience to let her take steps at her own pace, whether it is her learning process, letting her help me cook or leaving enough time for us to walk to school at a pace that is comfortable for her, I am loving her. I am grateful that God can allow a couple walking along my path to teach me a more direct and healthy path to giving love. I am grateful for the lesson that sometimes we must slow down to love.

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