Blessings in the Slow Lane

by Sally Matheny

In Search of the Quickest Route?
Are you a lane-hopper—zigzagging around others in search of the quickest route to your destination? Whether it’s on the highway or in the cashier aisles at Wal-Mart, you’re the man with a plan or a woman on a mission.

     Punctual and focus-minded are admirable traits but don’t miss the blessings in the slow lane. As nice as it is, this is not a post about stopping and smelling the roses.

     However, many of us are like the Mad-Hatter from Alice in Wonderland,  scurrying about from one objective to the next. We’re either dangerously overloaded with commitments or we’re borderline OCD with our color-coded organizational charts (which, by the way, have budgeted ample time for travel into the daily schedule).
     Life is merrily racing along until—BAM!
     An injury, illness, job loss—whatever it is, has suddenly shoved you

all the way
Slow Lane Got You Down?





     No one likes to be sidelined. There’s too much to do and too many places to go. We aggressively seek solutions to get back on the fast track. We try to learn how to adapt and overcome. However, as life decelerates, there’s no choice but to scoot along at a reduced speed.
     Prior to attending a recent writers’ conference, my concerns were not over agents and editors, but rather mobility issues. Diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), I wondered if I’d be able to walk the hilly campus.
     After arriving, I met many others gradually and painfully making their way to classes—people in far worse condition than me. Broken bones, rheumatoid arthritis, tumors, diseases, cancer.


    At last year’s conference, I remember maybe two or three people struggling physically. Why were there so many hurting people there this year?
     One morning on my way to class, I did my usual side step down the stairs and made my way across campus. The fast ones already planted themselves in the best seats. Even my new, slow-moving friends weren’t on my usual path. Nonetheless, sharing the warm sunshine with the chirping birds made the stroll pleasant.
     Then, I saw the roses. Beautiful reddish pink roses—the shade that looks great on toenails but not on lips kind of red. Why had I not seen them before? I had walked this path at least four times already and had not spotted them stretching over a fence. Most were in full bloom, facing the path, beckoning me to notice what they had to offer.
     Bear with me, I told you this was not a “stop and smell the roses” story and it isn’t. In that moment, I realized the roses had always been there, just like the injured people I had met. They were there last year, I just didn’t notice them in my rush to get to class (you know, to learn how to become a better writer for God) or in my hurry to do good things.
     My Mary-Martha moment of revelation, by the roses, didn’t bring me to a total halt. Yet, along with my calculated gait, my journey that week grew more focused.

     Purposeful conversations took place. Radiant beauty burst forth instantly in some and in others it gently unfolded. Promises of prayer and encouraging words were exchanged like birthday gifts. Blessings overflowed.
     God is working in all the lanes of life, my friend. Occasionally, when we’re sputtering along, we find encouragement among our fellow slow lane travelers.
     And, just like CRPS, not all injuries are visible. Quite likely, the one cutting in front of you, or that irritating tail-gater, is possibly the one enslaved with the most pain.      
     It’s not so much about stopping to smell the roses for our own benefit. But rather regarding their beautiful presence with the same attention and care as our Creator.

     Whatever we think is impeding our progress, God can miraculously transform into delightful delays.

     What about you? What blessings have you discovered in the slow lane?