When I have time to breathe, when I'm not pressing at full speed for an extended period of time . . . I am happier, I'm a better husband and father, I'm a more prepared and compassionate minister. But when I feel like I'm in a full-court press all day long for an extended period of time . . . depression creeps in, I become fragmented and abrupt, and I look for ways to retreat from people. Anyone else out there feel like life needs to slow down? Not always, of course. There are times we need to speed along. But we weren't made to stay at that pace. There is a rhythm in scripture that calls for rest, fun, joy, and relaxation that we too often miss out on. In the words of Gandhi, "there is more to life than increasing its speed." I've been reading a helpful book by Carl Honore called In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed. Honore says the idea for the book came when he was rushing through one more airport and he saw a book entitled The One-Minute Bedtime Story. His first thought was that this was an answer to prayers. He had been in tug-of-war battles with his two-year-old son over reading every night. He'd been wanting to get through stories more quickly so he could get back to his agenda: supper, emails, reading, bills, more work, etc. But a moment of insight fell over him: "Have I gone completely insane? . . . I am Scrooge with a stopwatch, obsessed with saving every last scrap of time, a minute here, a few seconds there." I'm not suggesting this applies to any of you -- :) -- but just in case there are one or two others needing to ratchet it down a bit now and then, I'm going to include a few choice quotes. "This book is not a declaration of war against speed. Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating. Who wants to live without the Internet or jet travel? The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry." "Then there is the human cost of turbo-capitalism. These days, we exist to serve the economy, rather than the other way round. Long hours on the job are making us unproductive, error-prone, unhappy and ill. Doctor's offices are swamped with people suffering from conditions brought on by stress: insomnia, migraines, hypertension, asthma and gastrointestinal trouble, to name but a few. The current work culture is also undermining our mental health." "All the things that bind us together and make life worth living -- community, family, friendship -- thrive on the one thing we never have enough of: time." "Despite Cassandra-like mutterings from the speed merchants, slower, it turns out, often means better -- better health, better work, better business, better family life, better exercise, better cuisine and better sex." "In this book, Fast and Slow do more than just describe a rate of change. They are shorthand for ways of being, or philosophies of life. Fast is busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, active, quantity-over-quality. Slow is the opposite: calm, careful, receptive, still, intuitive, unhurried, patient, reflective, quality-over-quantity." "In our hyped-up, faster-is-better culture, a turbocharged life is still the ultimate trophy on the mantelpiece. When people moan, 'Oh, I'm so busy, I'm run off my feet, my life is a blur, I haven't got time for anything,' what they often mean is, 'Look at me: I am hugely important, exciting and energetic.'" Well, enough quotes. You see where this is going. The book isn't just full of chastising. It is chocked full of glimpses at life lived at a more sane pace. Some of the chapters are: "Food: Turning the Tables on Speed" "Medicine: Doctors and Patience" "Sex: A Lover with a Slow Hand" "Leisure: The Importance of Being at Rest" "Children: Raising an Unhurried Child" Let me encourage you to check this book out. If your library doesn't have it, you can rush to the local Barnes and Noble or put in a rush order at Amazon! Think back to some of those best moments in life. Honestly, didn't many of them involve a slower pace? "Quiet time" when you didn't feel like you had to wind up the reading and prayer in ten minutes. Preparing a meal where the cooking and the conversation were part of the ritual. Taking a walk, a hike, a bike ride. Reading a book to your child or grandchild as the child soaked in the words and the attention. Visiting at length with a friend. Looking across the table at your Beloved during a two-hour meal, remembering births, deaths, challenges, and joys. Many of us need more than an evening off. We need a radical change of lifestyle. Does that resonate with anyone?