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  • Writer's pictureJames

How To Make A Pickle

Chapter 9 Assigned Sunday, April 17th

In “The Good And Beautiful God,” the author and his son stopped at a coffee shop, and he was glad for the opportunity to slow down and savor life’s moments. They had created enough margin in their lives so they did not have to rush, but his son chugged down his soda and wanted to hurry along. He started thinking about the hurry sickness America tends to face, and how we are never present where we are. He made a suggestion that they could leave the moment his son noticed five things in the coffee shop he never paid attention to before. The son found more than five things, and he came to realize he never took time to stop and notice the beautiful world around him.

Being always too over-committed, too hurried and distracted are nothing new from the stories in the bible to modern society, but “Will we take on too many things or be concerned about the wrong things and thus miss the most important things?” While we enjoy life at super speed, we also forget to enjoy our lives, and as a result we try so hard that we become spiritually shallow and deeply disappointed to where “despite our alleged efficiency… we seem to have less time for ourselves and far less time for each other.”

There were the monks who invented the clock in

order to divide up their day between work and prayer, because they believed in a hard days work followed by prayer and leisure time, and their day was not so stressful. Over time the machines took over and created a world full of efficiency. And so you become only as valuable as what you produce, and that can seep into the lives of the church where a person is on so many committees or going on so many trips that they no longer have time for their family and friends, or their physical and emotional health, and they have nothing to show for it.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example, because he never lived his life in a rush, he always stopped to help the people who needed him, because when we live our lives in a hurry we become unable to live with kindness and awareness of our surroundings. “When we add too many things to our lives, something has to be eliminated. Unfortunately, busy people often rid themselves of the most important ones: relationships, spiritual practices and self-care.”

You’ll find as you go that God never calls you to those things, and so the Soul Training exercise for the chapter is slowing down. Take some time to enjoy life, take some time to enjoy the people and objects and places around you. Help a friend or stranger in need. Leave a little early so you are not rushing to get to work. Find time to relax and grow closer to God.

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One thing I do is I work as a cashier in retail, and many of my customers live their lives with a total sense of tunnel vision, they are always on their phones and always in a rush to get out of the store, and so I can stand there at my register with my light on and watch people jump in a long line instead of realizing there are more open cashiers. And sometimes they don’t want to deal with having to greet the cashier because they are always in a rush. I go 65 in a 55 zone on the expressway and the other cars pass me like i’m standing still, and sometimes you’ll see cars pulled over to the side of the road for speeding. I even have my days when I get impatient. I want to hurry up on something. I want to graduate college and find my soul mate and find my career. When we did this as a group in bible study, Dr. Brown mentioned how when his family and him lived in Haiti things moved much slower over there. You would feel accomplished getting one thing done the whole day, whereas in the U.S. we do five things and that’s not enough.

I made it to the end of the book… and I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I had feelings for someone. I was not emotionally prepared to agree on friendship, and if I was I couldn’t go the whole semester without her. I fell apart. I held onto my stories because they were the only way I knew everything would be okay. My stories fell apart too. And I had to put myself back together. Unfortunately, I haven’t written this blog in a way that shows love to people, and that can’t continue.

Through this book I grew a lot in my faith as a Christian, and I came to understand myself in some ways where I was lost. I hope the other people in my group got something out of it as well. I even hope my blogs were a benefit to someone out there.

As I wrote these blogs, I worked on them one month at a time, and I sought guidance for each chapter in order to tell a story, and it took a lot out of me. I read the blog “22 Things,” and I did a work camp, and I went on my Infusion trip with the college, and I went to Kentucky, and over the summer I went on dates with three different girls and we shared our s

tories, and it was through those things that I found my contentment. I came to realize that this was all part of the story and I had to keep going with mine. Even though I have my struggles I find that I can always keep going, keep picking myself up, keep being the great person I always have been and keep doing great things.

I got into talking with the one girl I met over summer and she has a heart for some of the same things I do, and I don’t know how that will work out between us. I don’t get to see her that often. My grades in college will always be my main focus, but I figure if I have room for margin in my life I can read my bible more often, and hang out with my college friends, and if we have kindness and grace her and I can still invest in each other. When life is a roller coaster, you need faith, you need community, you need your friends and family. You surround yourself with the people who love and care for you and you get through it day by day.

The bishop did a sermon at my church, and he talked about God’s commandment, “Go into all the world and make disciples.” He asked how many of us practice this, and not many people raised their hand. I sure didn’t. What touches our hearts? We have such a fear towards reaching out to people and helping people. We have such a fear towards letting people in our lives. We see the things before us and we show so much apathy, “I don’t care, I don’t care.” When really the world we have in front of us is the most important thing around.

– James –

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