What I’ve been thinking lately:
My little town isn’t so little anymore. Its population has boomed in the last twenty years from about three thousand to right around ten thousand people. The old two-lane road is now four. The lone stoplight we used to have has somehow given birth to five more. And there seems to always be a new subdivision being built in an old cornfield.
Ask the business owners, and they’ll say all this growth is a good thing. Ask the old timers, and they’ll tell you that it isn’t so good. The town’s growing, they say, but the community is shrinking. There’s a difference, and it’s a big one. I used to have to drive down Main Street with my hand perpetually stuck in the wave position. Not so much anymore. There are a lot of people I don’t know. Which means you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely sometimes.
Many have come from the south and west in search of work, but most have come from the north. That fact alone was cause for concern for a lot of people here, those old in both age and ways and who still smart from the last time the Yankees invaded. But those times are over. These new Yankees do not have violence on their minds, but retirement. They’re tired of the cities and the noise. They want the peace and quiet of the country.
So they come. They buy their houses and settle in with the expressed purpose to slow down and take things easier. To force their lives not to be so hectic. “We’re always moving,” one of them told me the other day. “It’s just this constant state of having to do something. We hated it. So we came here. We just wanted to slow down and stop.”
I tried not to smile, but I did anyway.
This once-sleepy town is no Nirvana. It offers much, but not stoppage. Because the fact of life is that it’s busy and we’re always moving.
It doesn’t seem fair, really. As children, all we want is to go. Doesn’t matter to where or for what or how long, just as long as it’s somewhere. But the years wear on us. There are responsibilities. There is work and family and goals and dreams and we’re in the middle of it all, running. Moving. We long to slow down and stop not because we’re lazy, but because we’re tired. And because at some point we begin wondering if this is really all life has to offer, just more moving and more doing and never any rest.
I’ve wondered that myself lately. And I think that maybe the answer to that is no. Maybe that’s all life is. Movement.
I read the other day that the Earth spins on its axis every twenty-four hours at a speed of 1,000 mph. Pretty fast, isn’t it? Not as fast as this planet’s speed around the Sun, though. That’s 66,000 mph. So technically speaking, that means even though you think you’re sitting still and reading this right on the other side of a computer screen, you’ve traveled six hundred miles since you began reading this paragraph.
No wonder we’re always so tired.
I suppose that from the universe’s standpoint, not only is there not much we can do about our constant moving, we should be thankful there isn’t. Moving means life, and life continuing. It means that the Earth spins and the sun shines and all is well. It means that the cosmic dance continues unfettered.
Maybe that’s how we should look at our hectic lives. Because no matter who we are, it’s hard to slow down. Those precious moments of rest and nothingness are precious because they’re so few. I think that’s how it should be.
We can’t help but to move, but we can help how we move.
We can make sure our comings and goings are ordained by God Himself, that our actions, however small, are made as a prayer to Him and a help to others.
Yes. That’s it. That’s what we need.
Not less moving, but better moving.
That the cosmic dance continues unfettered.