Forced slowdown


It’s great to hear from a number of you who still have your tree up. We’re not the only ones. I’m gathering strength over that. And most of you have the same reason — it went by too fast and you didn’t get a chance to enjoy it. If you have a fireplace, building a fire is a good way to force you to slow down. Especially if it’s a real fire since you don’t want to leave it unattended. We don’t have that many fires over the rest of the year for the very reason that a fire says you’re going to sit there for a while. With the tree still up, there’s more of an incentive to do that.

Have you ever noticed how a fire in a fireplace forces you to look at it, and once it has your attention, it grabs you and won’t let you go? It’s hypnotic. I call it forced slowdown. Good for the heart and for the blood pressure which usually needs to come down after the holidays anyway.

Slowdowns are in order. They force us to stop and focus on why we do what we do. They help us think about people we haven’t thought of in a long time — people who were important in our lives but we may have moved on or forgotten their value to us. It’s good to remember them with a card or a phone call. These are harsh times; not enough good will to go around. Well, there’s actually plenty of good will, just not enough use of it. Not enough of investing in it.

Just yesterday, Marti and I were talking about the people in our lives we haven’t heard from or reached out to in a long time. Do we have to wait for heaven in order to reconnect with the important people in our lives? Do it now. This is when we all need each other the most. What is life for if not to connect with the people we love?

I was talking with Alex Klein, our millennial board member, last night, and he made the statement that at no time in human history has change moved faster than it is now, and it’s getting faster every day. Technological advancements are moving so rapidly that it seems almost impossible to keep up. You just master one new challenge and it’s suddenly obsolete. Especially us boomers who are like aliens in the land of cyber culture. We seem to take two steps back for every step we take forward.

So what do we do? We’re not going to give up and we’re not going to retreat. We’re going to move ahead while we invest in what’s important. Relationships. We must find out about each other. We must care about the whole person. Alex has mastered more of this cyber culture than anyone I know. I understand a fraction what he’s saying when he talks about it, but he is also a brand-new father, and that I know about. It still comes down to relationships. We’re all human. We’re all basically the same.

So build a fire, gather anybody with you around it, get hypnotized, and get focused on the people in your life. And if you don’t have a fireplace, imagine one. Or light a candle. Reconnect with people you love. Find out how they are. Connect. Don’t let go of Christmas yet, at least this part of it. There’s still time. There’s always time for this.

Does it sound like I know what I’m talking about? Does it sound like I’m living this? Please forgive me for giving you that impression. I’m not. But it sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it? Let’s let this be a challenge to us all. Monday, I’ll look forward to some stories from you, and sharing with you some stories of my own. (to be continued…)

As I finished today’s Catch a friend sent me the link to a song by John Mayer that is a musical equivalent to this Catch. Click here and enjoy.

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3 Responses to Forced slowdown

  1. Our fireplace is gas so, even though the flames are pretty, it lacks the “warmth”, crackle, and smell of a real wood fire.
    But still, we do get to experience the glow and ambience of our real Christmas tree twice each year: during Christmas when the lights and ornaments are bright and flickering; and, then, early Spring (preferably at Easter if the Holiday isn’t too late in the season) when we set it aflame.
    Our Christmas tree is now taken down but it sits in the back yard near the fire pit ready to be ignited into a crackling “luminary” as we celebrate the last hurrahs of the cold wet winter and anticipate the beginnings of warmth and new life in the upcoming Spring.
    We’ll toast our tree with hot cocoa (or something stronger) and reflect on the memories of the yule season. Then, we’ll roast hot dogs and make s’mores as we look forward to the year ahead.
    That’s been one of our traditions and one of many connections between Christmas and Easter for us over the years.
    The lights of the bulbs and fire give way to the light and warmth of the sun (Son).

  2. Mark D Seguin says:

    Good read & great song by John Mayer @ the End…

  3. Tim in Burien says:

    I’m currently providing comfort and aid to a long time friend with lung cancer who is end stage of life in a nursing home. The other day he requested a cheeseburger and his roommate requested one too. So my wife and I bought 4 of them and we all enjoyed a cheeseburger in the nursing home room. Not many words were shared. Just friends munching on cheeseburgers. Life fundamentally comes down to events like this… Just a simple cheeseburger.

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