“Like I don’t want to hype the coffee up but it will change your life,” the text read. I almost laughed. Regardless of how life-changing the coffee will be at this new place, I am just looking forward to spending an evening with this wild, beautiful friend of mine.
Perhaps because I am a word-nerd and perhaps because I’m looking forward to good coffee, I’ve been thinking about that text message all day. (Heck maybe I’m just crazy for thinking about a text message all day. You decide.) Around lunch time, laughing through a staring contest with my toddler, the silly joy of it all just landed where I needed to hear it: what if you let it change your life?
Not in a big way – I don’t mean that. I’m not going to be stopping here every weekday AM for my morning coffee or anything. But I could let this expectation of great coffee fill my evening up with joy like a helium balloon so sky-bound it tugs against its string.
And if coffee can change my life, why not a silly staring contest with my toddler over lunch? Why not the contrasted flavor of sweet potatoes and a bowl of chili? Sometimes there just enough laughter involved in my grinning boy smearing his lunch across his tray (who says you can’t play with food?!) that clean up brings a memory and a smile, not a groan. On Wednesday the sky was pink with sunset clouds that hovered behind bare tree limbs. I left the sidewalk for the grass and snow, just to be more inside the sweet soft dusky beauty.
Maybe we need more moments like this. Maybe looking up at the smallest, most simple things can change our ordinary lives in the most profound ways of all.
I let my shoulders relax in a quiet exhale. Does it feel like a music kind of day? I turn on the CD player and Ben Rector spills cheerily out the open windows. Yes, a music kind of day. I smile. E chatters. Perhaps being late to the toddler program is worth the gentle pace of our morning.
I never used to move slowly. Grant loved that about me at first – I made decisions quickly. No dallying over laminate restaurant menus for us, thank you. I’ll have the avocado burger, water to drink, wedge of lemon please? But I also took tests quickly and drove quickly and worked quickly. I made a lot of mistakes. Little ones usually; isn’t forgetting the pacifier a little mistake? But Baby Boy has big lungs.
I resisted moving slowly when E still fit in the infant carrier on my back. I’d tuck the just-in-case pacifier in one pocket, my phone in another, and off we’d go. Now it’s getting harder. We need shoes for the toddling boy, snacks to satisfy when naps aren’t forthcoming. I bring water for both of us and his spare clothes and diapers and wipes and before you know it we’re scrambling to get out the door, grumpy and frazzled about a half-hour toddler program at the library.
But things are changing. Sometimes we make it to the library on time and sometimes we just walk in when we get there and look for books instead of joining in on toddler songs that started five minutes ago. Sometimes we rush out the door to church and sometimes I start collecting the snacks and pacifier and shoes in advance, readying us to get E into the nursery in time to sing through worship, breathe quiet and focus ourselves. We’re learning to live more slowly.
Slow looks like letting E walk to the park at his own wandering pace, keeping him gently on track. Slow looks like reading the same book again and again because Llama Llama’s Red Pajamas are allowed to be fascinating to a one-year-old. Slow means I lose my own reading time because I’ve spent it with the boy who just wanted to be held. (Hello, molars.)
Slow looks like setting aside the stress, like mindfully planning ahead. Like being ok with forgetting. Slow looks like long walks in the stroller that’s the only thing that calms him down, and long bouts of play when he’s full of giggles. This practice of moving slowly has a trickle-down effect, I’ve noticed. I’ve let my walks become more leisurely. I set my phone down more often (and I’m less hard on myself when I pick it up.) I think more clearly when I’m not hurrying. I let E interrupt me more.
I dare you to think about moving slowly this week. Drink your morning coffee without your phone in your hand. Think of something you could take the rush out of. Start small. Start slow. See what happens.