Slowing down

In her reflection on John 10:7-10 in this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, Linda Michael shares a memory about ice cream. “Years ago when life was a whirlwind, I found a rare minute to sit with a big bowl of chocolate almond marshmallow ice cream.” At the time, Linda writes that she had a habit of buying “flavors I didn’t like” in order to avoid temptation, “but for some reason on this particular day, I felt I owed myself that ice cream.”

It was while eating that bowl of ice cream that Linda had her moment of awakening. In the middle of all her worries, her busyness, “and a hundred other interrupters,” Linda realized that she “hadn’t really tasted” the ice cream.

So she slowed down.

“The rest of that ice cream was sweet, smooth, rich, cold. The nuts were crisp and coated in crunchy, dark chocolate, the marshmallow cream soft and sweet. . . . I experienced the flavors, textures, temperatures.”

Slowing down is hard.

There are a dozen waterfalls in Yamhill County, where I live. Many of them are poorly mapped and hard to find, so I gave myself a challenge this last summer: to find and photograph all twelve. On one of those trips, I had to slide down a nearly vertical 500 feet of loose dirt and pine needles. The waterfall at the bottom of that ravine was worth it. Baker Creek cascades over a basalt ledge in two giant steps to the forest floor. There were fresh salmon berries. Birds. The glint of afternoon sun. The roar of water. But by the time I’d climbed back up to the road, I was ready to go home. I was driving back down that mountain road, when I had a moment of awakening. I realized that the experience isn’t just in the capture of the falls in order to check it off my list. The journey also has meaning. So I stopped my car in the middle of that road. I got out, and I took the photo in the header of this email. A small screen of sword ferns with light landing on the fir trunks behind. I drove the rest of the way a little more slowly.

Linda writes, “We get so busy with life that we forget to live . . . not noticing the joys of each moment, the little presents from God that each day holds.” Jesus came that we “may have life, and have it abundantly,” but that's not our default.

We have to choose to slow down.

Eric Muhr

P.S. Don’t forget our continuing sale on all of Arthur Roberts’ work. Click here to see the full collection. All of Arthur’s books remain discounted in our bookstore through Monday, March 6 .