When I describe the concept of Stopping, I say that we live in a world of constant motion and ‘busy-ness.’ Everything is a blur. I show participants photographs that I’ve taken with my camera’s shutter speed set a little slower–but not much. Even if the shutter stays open a tenth of a second longer, the image I capture is not sharp and may even be unrecognizable. That’s perfectly analogous to our lives. Even when we think we’re slowing down, our interactions, communication and attention is not as sharply focused as it could be if we came to a complete stop.
Stopping is intentional. It takes courage. In stopping, we are doing something seemingly counterproductive and certainly counter-cultural. I’m borrowing the following from Dr. David Kuntz, author of Stopping-How To Be Still When You Have to Keep Going. It’s a list of assumptions that we hear (and say?) about the concept of Stopping:
- Leisure is a luxury you can’t afford
- Pleasure-seekers end up in hell (love that one!)
- To get ahead you must work more hours
- You have to keep up with the Joneses (oops)
- Doing nothing is slothful and lazy
- If it’s faster, it’s better
- Growth is always good
- Money is always the bottom line
- More is always better than less
- Play is only for children
Everything in the list above contributes to our living a blurry life. If we Stop and think, we know these statements are not true. But that’s the point: We have to STOP and think! I was able to do that this past weekend while attending a ministry of writing colloquium at Earlham School of Religion www.esr.earlham.edu in Richmond, IN. I basked in the warmth of stories told and poetry read. I cleared my head and, with the help of some really capable leaders, was able to think and write. During worship Saturday morning, in a time of stillness, I was given a poem that came so easily that I was caught off guard.
Stopping is good even if only for a moment. Ignore the world’s demand and just say I WILL!