Slowing down, Interconnectedness , and Listening

09/11/2019 6:25 PM | Anonymous

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last”

I've been thinking about these words with which Paul Simon opened his 1966 classic, recorded with Art Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).

When I was young, my dad and I would play a game in which we would see how long, with meaning and understanding, we could converse using only Paul Simon lyrics, and my dad often spoke these two lines to me as guidance, advice, correction, hope, and love.

As a child, my thoughts on those lines differed so from my thoughts now. Then, I most often responded with lines from the song I Know What I Know from Paul Simon's 1986 Graceland album:

“I know what I know
I'll sing what I said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head”

Now my response to the 59th Street Bridge Song urging to slow down is more like the words of Paul’s (Simon) more recent song Quiet from the 2000 You're the One album:

I am heading for a time of quiet
When my restlessness is past
And I can lie down on my blanket
And release my fists at last

I am heading for a time of solitude
Of peace without illusions
When the perfect circle
Marries all beginnings and conclusions”

As I was sitting today in the AA open share meeting that I attend these days, the words of a friend sharing on why AA has worked for him led me back to these Paul Simon lyrics and also to the ways that I have admitted my own powerlessness time and again and continually turn my life and will over to God. I've gone from a devotion and proclaiming of my own knowing and toward peace without illusions. And the path for me is the one where I slow down, where I listen to what others have to say. I lean not on my own understanding, one might say. (Proverbs 3:5)

As I move slower intentionally, I see beautiful connections all around. In a class at church, we are studying through Acts and today read Acts 5. I can think of no word better to describe the beginning of the ministry of The Apostles than slow. And they were intentional about their ministry. All the negative happenings in their time toward them – the persecution, e.g. – yet they persisted – slowly and with the ears of their hearts always to God.

This sentiment of slowing down, of resting, ties to one of my heart verses and then back to a gift for which I am ever thankful – Paul Simon and his music. My continued, sustained recovery has come to rely on these:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

When you're weary, feeling small 
When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all (all) 
I'm on your side” (Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, 1970)

We are safe in the palm of God’s hand, and God gives us opportunities to slow down, so we must take them. I'm on your side, friends, so together let's slow down when called so that we are equipped to work  more effectively in our covenant relationships, as is described in my favorite prayer:

Friends, our life on Earth is  short, and we have too little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind….and may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer, be with you now and always.”

Brandon B.

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