Apr 23, 2015

Stop Eating So Fast!

It was Sunday morning and I saw that I needed to straighten up my office in order to sit down and read my Bible and listen to some worship music.
The furniture was covered with framed photographs and books that had been carefully placed on them to free up the table so that artwork could be done. The large coffee table was covered with drawings made by two of my grandchildren the day before.
They had spent Friday afternoon through Saturday morning with us at our house and then we drove them home and spent the day helping their parents with some projects on their hobby farm.
As I straightened up the office (as well as two guest bedrooms that had been used by the grandchildren), I realized that the time I spent with them had gone by too quickly and that I had only spent half of the time with them; other things had taken me away from them and now my time was over; I had “eaten way too fast”.
The plan was to be able to spend all their waking time with them, so Friday when I came home from work, we went to the park to play on the swings, monkey bars, and run around. Shortly after arriving at the park, I received a phone call from one of my staff with an emergency that I needed to take care of. It was one of the phone calls that I was the person to call.
Because of the confidential nature of the call, I had to walk away from the grandchildren and went for a walk as my wife took over playing with them. The phone call(s) took about twenty minutes (at the park) and took me away from the ones I was scheduled to be with.
When the call(s) were over, we headed home to watch a new movie that my granddaughter had just received and was so excited to watch with me before we ate supper. Finally, some time to relax and get lost in a world where everything works out OK.
Five minutes into the movie, I excused myself because I had received another phone call from one of my staff with another emergency that I needed to take care of. It was one of the phone calls that once again, I was the person to call. I called my assistant and communicated that I needed him to make some phone calls and take the lead on this one because the first situation wasn’t completed.
I spent the next thirty minutes bouncing between making and taking multiple phone calls and trying to watch some of the movie. My wife sat in my place with my grandchildren and tried to assure me that it would be OK.
After the phone calls ended, we ate supper (in peace) and restarted our time together, only to be interrupted with another emergency phone call from one of my staff (connected to the first situation from work) that I needed to take care of. It was one of the phone calls that once again, I was the person to call.
After the phone calls ended, we restarted our time together by going outside. It was 7:30 and I had tried to spend time with them since 2:00. I assured myself that perhaps now that both crisis situations were under control, I could make the best of what was left of the evening and knew that they would be staying overnight.
We wrote with chalk, jumped at hopscotch, petted a hundred dogs walking past our house (OK maybe not a hundred), took off our shoes as we ran across the lawn that had earlier in the day been covered with a fresh layer of April snow, and then sat on the front step as I soaked in the moment.
Cathy called us inside so that we could eat ice cream before bedtime. From there they got ready for bed and then I read them books in bed; which I am told by my wife that I kind of skip half of the words. I told her that I wasn’t shortening the books; I simply couldn’t read all of the words.
She took over reading books to the grandchildren because now they were on the verge of getting silly rather than settling down to sleep. I went downstairs to get ready for my hockey game. Before I left for my game, I went upstairs to say good night and one of them was already fast asleep; the evening had gone by way too quickly.
The next morning I was awakened by the two of them laughing and coming to see me. We ate breakfast and then drove the two grandchildren home to help on their parents’ hobby farm. Later that evening we went to a wedding of one Cathy’s customers who treated us like honored guests. But that story is for another time.
On the way home from the wedding, I recalled something from Friday night’s hockey game that I overheard while on the bench between shifts; “savor every moment because soon it will be all over”. Two players were talking with a younger player about transitioning into the pros. The younger player was playing “Juniors” hockey and talking about the next level into the pros saying he couldn’t wait to get “there”.
The older players encouraged him to “eat slowly” and enjoy every game, every city, every moment. They said that the time will go by way too fast if you are not careful, one day you will be sitting on a hockey bench listening to another player who was just staring his career and realize that you would soon be forty. I chimed in that I agreed; only it would be approaching sixty.
And now it was Sunday and I was sitting in my favorite chair in my office, grateful for the time to sit knowing that soon I would be rushing off to church and then coming home for a busy day that included preparing a message for a service in two days and dinner guests later that evening.
It wasn’t the phone calls or other things that took my time that was the problem. No, I hadn’t taken the time to chew every moment; I had eaten way too fast and the past forty eight hours had slipped by. I hadn’t lingered over every moment that I DID have with the people I spent time with.  I was spending so much time running between each activity that I hadn’t enjoyed each and every moment; no matter how long it lasted.
I needed to stop eating so fast.