For much of the past few years, walking Dexter and Comet together, in the morning, noonish, and evening, was not a time for deep personal reflection. We more resembled a large Slinky toy, with one cream colored end straining forward, the black and gray end casually strolling and the middle coil, often attired in a Hawaiian shirt, halting here and there. We stop for one or the other to smell a bush or a fire hydrant. Our walk is often detours; we side-step around parked cars, trash bins, and the odd dead thing on the pavement. I was in a hurry as I had a thousand things to do. Perhaps my sense of urgency during those years is why, of the three of us dog-walking, Dexter remains the one who strains as though the interesting smells will all disappear unless he gets to them in time. Aging Comet has neither urgency nor hustle but seems to enjoy time spent on the walk.
Dexter is a metaphor for me, a Baby Boomer, how I spent my working life. Baby Boomers created the longer work hours, working vacations and strived to take on more responsibilities. It created the busyness of life that affected relationships, emotions, and spiritual life. One of the best books I began reading this Spring is The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, written by John Mark Comer. He defines the problem all of us have with busyness and the hurried, out-of-breath lives we lead. He notes the solution in Jesus, where an observation struck a chord with me, is that Jesus was never in a hurry. He spent time in meditation, spent time with his followers, and even when he was asked to heal someone dying, he walked. As the man who cried for Jesus to help his dying son (Mark 9:24) we need help strengthening our followership. As a Christian, an apprentice of the Lord Jesus, the call is to live as Jesus lived. At first, radically changing our actions and our thinking to that of Jesus – His “easy yoke” – is a change that brings us relief. But society is still in a hurry. It wearies us and distracts us. But we can repent, and restore our relationship with God, family and friends unhurried.