The dishes stood stacked to the right of the sink. Plan of attack; wash with scalding hot water and soap, then place the dishes on a mat to dry. This activity involves speed to move on to the next task or assignment. Do we really need to dry the dishes? They can dry on their own and we can put them away later. I started my normal quick and efficient plan of attack until a question stopped me…The question went something like this, “Why are you hurrying right now?” There was not a task following the dishes. I had the time to wash each piece thoroughly, dry them, and put them back in their correct location.
The idea of hurry starts at a young age. Many of us cleaned our rooms by simply pushing our toys in the closet. We played sports with timers and tried the full court press to overcome the scoring deficit. Five minutes until the bell rang at the end of class and our bags were packed while the teacher finished the lesson.
Somewhere along the way, we bought into the lie of hurry. It can come from obvious reasons like poor planning, surprises, or detours. Often though, these do not factor in our hurriedness, because we rush activities with no next task in site. Just get it done becomes our motto.
Brother Lawrence wrote the classic Practicing the Presence of God. He viewed menial tasks as an opportunity to converse with God and show love. One of his best lines says, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
The hurried life rushes tasks and leaves the unfinished work for others. Hurriedness wraps up conversations with people before they are ready to share what’s on their mind. Hurrying rarely stops to hear the voice of God in the midst of the silence.
I don’t think we totally eradicate hurriedness from our lives. We can learn wisdom in patience. Stopping in the middle of our day and asking, “Why the hurry?” Remaining in conversation with people without cutting them off. Thoroughly finishing tasks. Not rushing the 15-20 minutes of unscheduled time. Because these are the moments when we experience God at work and express love for others.
For me this practice came from doing the dishes. What one task can you complete without hurrying?