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Slow Down

I have a Kenyan family. We’re not biologically related but they are family.


I knew Marwa’s name long before we met. We had corresponded for years before I first touched down in Nairobi and got to hug him for the first time. Then I met his wife – and in her found one of the sweetest of friends I’ve ever known.


We spent little time together the first time I visited – and I left wishing we’d gotten more time together.


I came back the next year and Maggie asked me to go on a walk. We had nowhere to be. We were in no rush to get back.


But I’m used to being hurried. I’m used to moving quickly. So, not five minutes into our walk I was several paces ahead of her – and I didn’t even know where I was going.


“Why are you walking so fast,” she asked me. “Slow down. We are spending time together. There is no rush.”


She was right.


I wanted to spend time with Maggie. I wanted to talk with her and get to know her. But I was rushing our time because I am so accustomed to having another place to be.


There was nowhere else for me to be. I was in Kenya. I had no cellphone service and virtually no internet access. I literally had nothing to do but be present with those I was there to love and serve and enjoy.


But hurry is a habit. Hurry is a disordering of priorities.


I loved the time I got with Maggie. I love how that long, unhurried walk deepened our friendship.


But I really love how it changed me.


Since that walk, I try not to schedule anything after I schedule time with a friend. It doesn’t always work out. But I try to be as available as I can be for as long as I can be to relationship.


I’m learning to slow down. I’m learning to be there for relationship. I’m learning to prioritize the people I love.


Tasks lists matter. I know they do. We’re called to productive lives. We’re called to make a difference.


But when I die, I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine with all that didn’t get done.


I’m pretty sure I’ll remember walks with Maggie and coffee with friends and dinner with my parents and playing with nieces and nephews.


I’m pretty sure I’ll be glad I slowed down.

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