Doug Creamer column: Slow down

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2022

By Doug Creamer

I was putting a few things on the calendar the other day when I realized that we are almost in June. That can’t be possible. It seems like we just had Valentine’s Day and Easter. I haven’t gotten my garden in. Come on calendar…slow down!

My pastor seeks the Lord each year for a word for our church to focus on. My favorite to date was: Even Greater. That year we were to expect even greater things than we had seen the Lord do in our lives. The scripture comes from John 14:12-14. Jesus tells his disciples that if they will believe in him that they will do even greater things than he did.

In January my pastor gave us our new word for this year: Slowdown. I had just accepted a new job teaching adult basic education. Some people might think that I have been teaching for 36 years, what is the big deal? Anytime you have some new curriculum you have to learn, it’s a big deal. We teach in eight-week cycles, so that means I had to create eight weeks of lesson plans for two courses. For the first eight weeks of this year, I felt overloaded. How could I slow down?

I finished the first eight-week cycle with joy. I knew I would still need to refine my instructional method and materials, but at least I had a base from which to work. I thought, now I can slow down. My supervisor mentioned to me that there was an online course I could take that would earn me a nice raise. It was a 10-week class that didn’t look overwhelming. I had the first cycle under my belt and the raise was enticing. Sign me up!

I am about to finish the course. I can’t remember a time in my life when I have been busier. Wait a minute…I am supposed to be retired! The idea of slowing down is the very definition of retirement, right? My calendar is packed through the end of May, when am I supposed to slow down?

Will I be able to slow down in June? We do have a few days off at the end of June and the beginning of July. But I am sure the garden will need weeding and we would like to see our family. I also promised that I would work on some painting projects that I have put off. I have also been working on another book and need to devote some time and energy to that. There goes summer.

How do you slow down? I like staying active. I enjoy engaging with life. It’s hard for me to slow down. It seems there is always a list of things to do, people I want to see, places I need to go, along with all the regular weekly activities. With so many things going on, what is the Lord saying when he tells me to slow down?

I haven’t started to plant my vegetable garden. I tilled half the garden back in March but hadn’t done a thing in the garden since then. I decided I wanted to see if I could get started on my garden before we get rain over the weekend. I ran to a of couple garden centers after work on Monday so I was ready to get going when I got home on Tuesday.

It was peaceful. There was a wonderful breeze. The birds were singing. I was planting seeds and some tomato transplants. I love the feel of the soil. I heard a dog bark somewhere and a child playing. I felt his presence in a sweet and wonderful way. Joy filled my heart.

I believe slowing down is something different for each one of us. For some it is reading a book on the porch, going for a walk or a run, riding a bike, cooking or baking something, going fishing or hunting, painting, playing an instrument, going for a hike, or walking on the beach. I believe slowing down means disengaging with all the craziness of everyday life and spending quiet time doing the very thing we love best…with him. He wants to join us and enjoy being with us.

I want to encourage you to figure out how you can slow down and be with him. It doesn’t require a vacation, it does require us to remove distractions and focus on him. He isn’t expecting anything from us, just allowing his presence to surround and envelop us. He wants to enjoy us as we enjoy him. Let his peace, love and joy surround you. You will be glad you slowed down.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.

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