The subtitle of this book is ‘Discovering what happens when you stop’, so I figured that it might help with my thinking about life’s rhythms and the dimension of Sabbath. And I liked the cover (shallow but true!).
I started to read it while sitting in Starbucks having a double espresso at the Metro Centre (for those not familiar with it - this is a monolithic shopping mall in north east England). The fishwife and Dolly D were shopping, and I was doing my own thing – not very patiently.
Anyway as I read the first chapter, I started to relax. In fact, I started to stop! Some of the comments seemed to be aimed directly at me:
"I have allowed busyness to invade my life so much that it gets harder and harder to be in touch with that other part of me which thrives on the creativity of indolent wastefulness."
"There was a restless impatience within me."
So with my mood lifted, I tucked the book away and carried on ambling around the shops, and watching what people were doing, having a chat with the shop assistant in the cookery shop etc etc. A good start.
However, the next few chapters were disappointing. They were an encouragement to become a Christian. No problem with that, except that there was no indication about this on the cover notes. It seemed a bit disingenuous. However, I persevered and things improved.
Modern life is crowded and cacophonous. Everywhere you turn there are more people shouting at you, demanding attention and wanting to consume your time. Drastic action is needed. So chuck out the instant coffee. It’s not just that it tastes horrible; I want back the time it robbed me of. The superficial attraction of its speed didn’t save me time; it just encouraged me to cram more in. What people need in their lives are things to slow them down. Labour-creating devices and time-wasting strategies are what I’m after. They will generate opportunities for stillness and reflection.
I particularly agree with the bit about the coffee! But more than that the essential message of the book is that we need to slow down, to take the time that we need to enjoy life AND to get in touch with our creative side and our Creator.
I’ll chuck in some more quotations over the next few entries.