The “Hurry Sickness” is alive and well at St. Arbucks! It is not just because “Tis the season to be rushing!” but rather it’s the daily mood and speed of today’s society. Remember comic Lily Tomlin’s quote, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat!”?
As folks, young and old, hurry in and out of St. Arbucks this morning, we pondered the fact that many of us have the “Hurry Sickness”, big time, starting with me. Larry Dossey’s book, “Space, Time, and Medicine” puts it this way, “Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately. Our sense of urgency is set off, not by a real need to act quickly, but through learned cues.” Our “bells” have become the internet, Facebook, texts, Instagram, and all the others – yes, even our morning Starbucks! (Quick aside – I recently saw a sweatshirt in St. Arbucks that read, “Sorry coffee, this situation calls for alcohol!”
The “Hurry Sickness” is very contagious, and some of us are actual carriers of it to others! It is easy to catch this illness. There is so much to do, so many events to plan for, so many people to see, and it’s on and on and on. Martin Luther was right when he exclaimed, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get!” (Well, perhaps Luther didn’t say this, but he should have!”) We, or at least I, build in self-inflicted expectations into our daily lives. The book, “Time Management for Unmanageable People”, by Dr. McGee Cooper, claims that “hurry sickness” is a metaphor for all of those illnesses brought on or exacerbated by stress, rush, and internal and external constant pressure. She adds:
- Messages from childhood tell us that faster is better.
- Modern society encourages hurry sickness – it’s everywhere we turn.
- Only a conscious effort to slow down will help “cure” us of hurry sickness.
- We all need to learn to balance “doing” time with “being” time. After all, we are human “beings” first, and then human “do-ers”.
Take a look at our lives – do we rush to be first in line? Do we get stressed out in gridlock traffic, even though our lives probably will not change if we are 10 minutes early or late? Do we finish each others’ sentences and rush ahead of the story? Do we skip breakfast or lunch to “save time”, or even eat on the go? Do we not have time to stop and visit with a family member? And on and on!
I am reminded of a Charlie Brown cartoon that shows Lucy telling Charlie what’s wrong with him. When Charlie asks Lucy “What can I do about it?”, Lucy simply replies, “I don’t have the answers, my job is to only point out the problems!”
But rejoice old hurrying people of God! The spirit of our Lord continues to come to us with His reassuring words in Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God”! I do not always listen but we do know through faith that He is there to calm the storms in our lives, and to settle us down with His peace, hope, and grace. He also sends caring people into our lives to help us to “Remember the Sabbath”, to lighten up, to calm down, and to help us to take time for spiritual renewal, solitude, and just plain rest!
Perhaps you have not caught the “Hurry Sickness”. Good for you! The Lord has given you the gifts to help those of us who have caught it to hear the reassuring message of the Lord through your caring, forgiving, and loving actions to us, the hurrying horde! And if you are infected with “HS”, watch for those special people around you like ….little kids, grandparents, spouses, staff persons, and other friends…who the Lord has placed into your life for you to sooth, listen, hug, and forgive!
May this day be a gift to each of us to take a deep breath, thank the Lord for all of our blessings, pray often, sit and do “nothing” for 15 minutes…and while we’re at it, let’s read Psalm 46:10 again and again ….and try not to get caught in rush hour traffic!