Slow Down, Sister Sledge

Ok, so I am at Panera Bread today where a cute lady in front of me stands at the self-serve soda fountain. Dressed in a bright lime-green tennis outfit, she looks tan and fit. There’s a good chance she’s spent the morning getting in a great workout. Let’s call her Tennis Girl.

Tennis girl serves up a big cup of ice-cold pop but I notice she’s melting down. “Augh c’mon!” she snaps. She is pissed there’s so much foam and she’s in a hurry. She jerks the cup sideways dumping it out. Again, she fills the cup. She’s more determined but the beverage doesn’t cooperate (still too much foam). “Uhh!” she lets out.

Crazily, she does this five more times before jerking her soda away and leaving in a huff.

When you are in a war with a beverage, it is time to slow down.

I saw an unsettling display of American hurry syndrome. You know what I’m talking about. The pressure to go, do, accomplish, get more done, knock one more thing off the list. The inner voice says, “Do it now!” And, God help us if anything gets in the way.

When was the last time you were in the checkout line and you calmly dug through your purse for exact change? Meanwhile, the person behind you is breathing fire down your neck and shifting from right foot to left foot with loud sighs of frustration. “HURRY!” they all scream with their eyes.

Calm down everybody. You are so missing out.

I remember our family trip to Walt Disney World two years ago. We were sitting in Cinderella’s palace having lunch when one of the fairy Godmothers decided to do a stand-up routine. With her hair in a big white bun, she cackled and waved her wand as she cracked jokes. Her punchline? How intense and uptight moms are when they visit Walt Disney World … how moms just need to relax and feel the real magic of the Magic Kingdom. Everyone laughs, except the moms of course.

I was shocked. I thought, you mean, I’m not the only mom who enters the golden gates with a map, a plan, a timed agenda and anything anybody might need in a 20-pound bag on her back? I mean, I did research people! I thought back to our first day there. “OK boys. Our plan is to bypass the parade and crowds that jam the front of the park. We gotta get to Pirates of the Caribbean and work our way backward. LET’S GO!” We beelined it to the end of the park, bypassing the parade. It worked; no wait at Pirates. My husband and I high-fived each other. “We own this park, man!”

But maybe the fairy Godmother was right. I thought to myself, this isn’t a reconnaissance mission I’m leading. This is Disney World. I decided to continue the trip with no plan and no agenda. My kids headed for Winnie the Pooh and spent two hours playing on a jungle gym that was the same as any you’d find outside our home in Chicago. But, it gave my husband and me time to relax, talk and watch our two boys: see their smiles and feel their joys. Lesson learned. Again.

It happens a lot to all of us. We live in a culture that insists we do, produce and move quickly, day in and day out. Spiritually, emotionally and physically this doesn’t make sense.

Pay attention and slow down in life.

Seeing cute Tennis Girl in a losing war with a carbonated beverage reminded me again … “Slow down, Sister Sledge.” By the way, when Tennis Girl finally gave in and sat down, the foam settled. Hmm….

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