Monday, April 13, 2020

When We’re Run Down

Two‌ ‌natural‌ ‌gas‌ ‌company‌ ‌service‌ ‌personnel,‌ ‌a‌ ‌senior‌ ‌training‌ ‌supervisor‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌young‌ ‌trainee,‌ ‌were‌ ‌out‌ ‌checking‌ ‌meters‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌suburban‌ ‌neighborhood.‌ ‌They‌ ‌parked‌ ‌their‌ ‌truck‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌end‌ ‌of‌ ‌an‌ ‌alley‌ ‌and‌ ‌worked‌ ‌their‌ ‌way‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌other‌ ‌end.‌ At‌ ‌the‌ ‌last‌ ‌house,‌ ‌a‌ ‌woman‌ ‌looking‌ ‌out‌ ‌her‌ ‌kitchen‌ ‌window‌ ‌watched‌ ‌the‌ ‌two‌ ‌men‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌checked‌ ‌her‌ ‌gas‌ ‌meter.‌ ‌When‌ ‌they‌ ‌finished,‌ ‌the‌ ‌senior‌ ‌supervisor,‌ ‌proud‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌physical‌ ‌condition,‌ ‌challenged‌ ‌his‌ ‌younger‌ ‌co-worker‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌foot‌ ‌race‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌truck.‌ ‌As‌ ‌they‌ ‌approached‌ ‌the‌ ‌truck,‌ ‌they‌ ‌realized‌ ‌that‌ ‌the‌ ‌woman‌ ‌was‌ ‌huffing‌ ‌and‌ ‌puffing‌ ‌right‌ ‌behind‌ ‌them.‌ ‌They‌ ‌stopped‌ ‌and‌ ‌asked‌ ‌her‌ ‌what‌ ‌was‌ ‌wrong.‌ ‌ Gasping‌ ‌for‌ ‌breath,‌ ‌she‌ ‌replied,‌ ‌“When‌ ‌I‌ ‌saw‌ ‌two‌ ‌gas‌ company ‌men‌ ‌running‌ ‌as‌ ‌hard‌ ‌as‌ ‌you‌ ‌two‌ ‌were,‌ ‌I‌ ‌figured‌ ‌I’d‌ ‌better‌ ‌run,‌ ‌too!”‌ ‌ In‌ ‌another‌ ‌way,‌ ‌we‌ ‌spend‌ ‌a‌ ‌great‌ ‌deal‌ ‌of‌ time‌ ‌running,‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌we?‌ ‌We‌ ‌are‌ ‌running‌ ‌to‌ ‌catch‌ up‌ ‌at‌ ‌work.‌ ‌We‌ ‌are‌ ‌running‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌up‌ ‌at‌ ‌home.‌ ‌We‌ ‌speak‌ ‌of‌ ‌“running”‌ ‌errands.‌ ‌We‌ ‌“rush”‌ ‌off,‌ ‌we‌ ‌stop‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌“Quick”‌ ‌mart,‌ ‌we‌ ‌buy‌ ‌“fast”‌ ‌food,‌ ‌we‌ ‌use‌ ‌the‌ ‌“express”‌ ‌lane,‌ ‌and‌ ‌we‌ ‌“hurry”‌ ‌back‌ ‌so‌ ‌we‌ ‌can‌ ‌“race”‌ ‌through‌ ‌our‌ ‌meal.‌ ‌Too‌ ‌often‌ ‌our‌ ‌lives‌ ‌are‌ ‌lived‌ ‌in‌ ‌fast‌ ‌forward.‌ ‌Then we complain that we’re ‌run‌ ‌down. One‌ ‌telecommunications‌ ‌company‌ ‌executive‌ ‌went‌ ‌to‌ ‌see‌ ‌his‌ ‌doctor.‌ ‌She‌ ‌listened‌ ‌to‌ ‌her‌ ‌patient’s‌ ‌heart,‌ ‌shook‌ ‌her‌ ‌head‌ ‌and‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“All‌ ‌I‌ ‌get‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌busy‌ ‌signal.”‌ ‌ For many people, these unusual days seem less hurried than before. Because of the COVID-19 scare and subsequent isolation from others, many of us have found that slowing down is what our bodies and souls have craved for years. We find more time to take‌ ‌long ‌walks.‌ ‌We spend‌ ‌more ‌time‌ alone.‌ ‌We discover the re-energizing power of just being ‌still.‌ ‌We actually know what it means to listen‌ deeply ‌to‌ ‌our‌ ‌spirits.‌ ‌We might even discover, as Alan Wolfelt puts it, that we’ve been giving “mindless attention to things that don’t really matter and that we don’t really care about.” Surprisingly,‌ ‌we ‌might even ‌find‌ ‌we ‌have‌ ‌‌more‌ ‌energy‌ ‌for‌ ‌important‌ ‌tasks that we have for too long neglected.‌ When things get back to normal,‌ ‌will we ‌wonder‌ ‌why‌ ‌we ‌ever‌ ‌rushed‌ ‌at‌ ‌all? Today I’ll set my own pace. I’ll still arrive and, better yet, I’ll enjoy the journey.

--Steve Goodier

Image: Britton

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