As a child, our family would occasionally visit neighbors. And when we got up to leave, invariably someone would say, "What's your hurry?" Good neighbors place value on one's life.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I were in a hurry to go on vacation. And when our week at the beach was over, we were in a hurry to get home. Yet, there were many drivers on the interstates who passed us as if we were standing still! Hurry is often necessary, but it does seem that there is an unusual addiction to it in our country. Perhaps it makes us feel important.
There is a story in the Bible (II Samuel 18) of King David being challenged for the throne by his son, Absalom. The son was killed in battle, and a runner was designated to take the unfortunate news to the king. Interestingly, another man wanted to run to the king with the news, but was asked, "Why will you run when there is no reward?" The man replied that he just wanted to run, and soon he passed the official messenger. Arriving at the palace, he told the king in so many words that "all was well." But when the official runner arrived, he indirectly told the king of the victory and of his son's death. And the king wept. Some people run with good reason.
You and I are now on the stage of history. Many of us seem to be in such a hurry. There are times to use all deliberate speed -- to pick up a passenger at the airport, to take someone to the hospital, or to meet a deadline. But commercial interests, yes, even our desires push us to get on with it.
It is no longer a surprise to see a pedestrian hurrying across the street, head down, with cellphone pressed to ear, oblivious to oncoming traffic. What's the hurry?
The hurried life has adverse affects on our lives together and within our individual lives. It affects relationships and leads to shallowness. It encourages impatience and thwarts good self-examination. It even affects times of worship to where we are merely touching base with God and one another, waiting for the benediction as a wrap-up so we can go home.
A hurry-up spirit hardly encourages an "open ear," much less an "open heart." Hurry enhances individualism at the expense of a community spirit, a spirit of compassionate thoughtfulness. A hurried life can express indifference. An old adage says, "Haste makes waste," and so it does! Sometimes you get the feeling that you're meeting yourself coming and going.
Well, here's hoping we all get on top of things. Better yet, may we all bear good news by being good news, and that for the King of kings, who sent his Son into the world with a timeless message of love for us all, of love unto salvation.
May we all come to a full stop and have ears to hear that we, God's children, are loved everlastingly. So how about a majestic pace?
Have a good week, neighbor!Dr. Lamb is parish associate at First Presbyterian Church, Charleston.