Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Slow and Steady
Growing up, my mother always said, "If a jobs worth doing, it's worth doing well." As a mother, I have come to completely disagree with that cliche. Sometimes a job just needs to get done--and so I do it. Some jobs just need to be barely done, so I barely put the effort in, and race through the task. Mike is the exact opposite to me in this way. It comes out glaringly in may ways. For example, when Mike and I weed the flower or vegetable gardens together. After thirty minutes Mike will still be in his small section of the dirt and it will look beautiful. No weeds, in the dark, lush dirt he has overturned and refreshed. My section? Well I pull weeds that I see anywhere in the garden. I just pull. And even though I may have the same amount of weeds in my weed pail as Mike, I've done the essentials of 'doing' the job: ie pulling the weeds, but Mike has done the 'worth doing well' part of the job with the end result of not just pulled weeds, but his section looking far more pleasing to the eye than mine.
The other day at the dentist, (and I'm only brave enough to admit this so publicly because my friend Laurie has the exact same diagnosis and admitted the same thing recently too!) they told me my gums are receding because I brush my teeth too quickly and vigorously, and need to slow down. Again, I do the job to get the job done. My quick and vigorous brushing, could quite possibly be blamed on the fact that as soon as a toothbrush is sloshing around my foamed up with toothpaste mouth, all five children inevitably seem to need urgent responses and attention. Is it any wonder I brush quickly and vigorously when I need to urgently respond to queries such as, "Can we have an ice cream cone for breakfast?" or "Is it okay if Drew comes outside to play with me even though he took off his diaper?"
My friend and exercise partner, Lori, and I have become a little lax on our exercise-running-routine lately. We spent too many weeks embracing our disdain for running, and have walked in place of running far too much. With an upcoming race on HER horizon (Thank goodness I have a water fear, or she'd surely be making me do the triathalon with her!), we've decided the last few times to run more. As the end of our painful running sessions loom closer, (I really dislike running! Why do I do it?) and the exhaustion and soreness sets in, Lori and I have two different styles. Lori likes to slow her pace down. I want to speed up. I want to race as fast as I can to the finish line just to get the pain over with. But what I guess comes down to mutual respect and common courtesy, and the enjoyment of being together, we stick together. I slow down more than I'd like, Lori doesn't slow down as much as she'd like to, but for the most part we stick side-by-side.
Just the other day, Lori and I were both exhausted. Without either of us voicing it, we both wanted to quit running before the end. Lori began to slow down and 'knowing my preference' kindly said, "Go ahead and run fast to get it over with, and just wait for me at the end." I wasn't going to leave her, instead, I slowed down and said, "Slow and steady wins the race."
And that morning run provided a much needed epiphany for me.
"Slow and steady wins the race."
Not that I'm trying to 'win' the race, I just want to finish the course. Slow and steady will finish the course.
I'm not just talking flower gardens or teeth brushing or painful morning runs. I'm talking raising my children, learning the gospel, teaching my children all the qualities I think they need, working on my own goals and aspirations, financial security, making sure kids reach academic milestones, etc. etc.
I am always in a RUSH. Always in a hurry. I am impatient. My morning run last week made me re-read the old classic, 'The Tortoise and the Hare.' The moral of the classic story is the same encouragement Mike already seems to have mastered and frequently and kindly reminds me, "Slow and steady." Everything takes time, even life. I'm going to be more patient with the things I really can't control, I'm going to be a little more like Mike, and my good friend Lori, I'm going to slow down and realize some things take time.