Sometimes I feel like the only thing I know how to do is hustle. I can still hear my high school softball coach yelling, dirt flying from my cleats, as I tried my darndest to get to first base at a respectable speed. I think one time he actually told me to “Unhook the wagon!” So. Good thing I could throw. But anyway, I was never known for my actual speed, but I had heart and my heart really wanted to be fast.
I hustled my way through college too, rarely missing class and studying hard, graduating magma cum laude. I kept up the actual running too-mostly to try and outrun my freshman 15, but I ran nonetheless. I still had a coach, albeit in my mind, screaming “Dig, dig, dig!”.
I’ve always admired those who hustled, the ones with worn out sneakers and grease on their elbows. I’ve also always had this sense that if I stopped hustling than I would drop the ball. And if I dropped the ball, I would lose.
Hustling has served me really well up until now. I was rewarded over and over for it with making teams (by the skin of my teeth), getting the grades, crossing off that to-do list like a boss. But now it doesn’t always work out for me so well. Now I realize I may have missed some important little things along the way when I had my nose to the ground, sniffing out the finish line. Now I’m not as satisfied when I arrive on time, mad at everyone else in my path who doesn’t have the same sense of urgency. Now I don’t feel like that hurrying always pays off with a great sense of accomplishment and pride. Now I may be missing the point and now I just feel pretty tired.
I keep preaching the slow down gospel because I need to keep hearing it. The truth is I am absolutely horrible at letting up the pace. Most of the time I don’t even know how to do anything but work. Something I’ve learned is that un-learning something is really hard. I thought the stuck-in-your-ways habits were only stubborn in the later years but I’m finding that they have an iron will even now as I round the bend to 38. I’m a little insensitive and unaware sometimes until life grabs my shoulders and looks me in the eye, asking me to be still again. To stop for even just a little while, to rest before I work again.
I laid in the sun today on our front porch, right smack in the middle of February, the weather an unusual 60 degrees. I listened to the kids next door do bottle flipping and I read a book about writing and how it’s not about perfection but more about clutter and mess and finding treasures right there in the middle of it all. Warmth in winter, words read through the noise, bringing the hustling to a slow and then full…stop.
My form of perfectionism might be working so much that it might just make life the way I want it to be; accomplished and well done. Perfect with smooth edges. The fact that the work is never all done is the thorn in my side and until the day I die, I’ll probably be trying to outrun it or maybe just make it a neck and neck race. But the contest won’t ever be close and if it is, it’ll be but a moment before I’ve fallen behind again. I know I don’t always share outright here about my faith, but you may know that I am a Christian and this drives the things I do and think. But so often I get in the way and start adjusting the speed of this thing, thinking faster is more and better and proves my worth. But God knows better than this and I think that rest is one of the gifts He gives. He created it in the Sabbath when He rested and looked at all He had made and said it was good.
I’ve even written and re-written this post for a few weeks now, wondering what my point might be. I’m not sure there is one. Other than maybe dropping the ball doesn’t always equal losing and running fast doesn’t always equal winning.
And I think I just needed to get that down in writing. Thanks for reading my friends. Now go take a rest…