The alarm goes off at 6:20. I wake up only enough to snooze the sound away and fall back into a deeper sleep.
An hour and sixteen minutes later, I jump up frantically trying to fit undressing, showering, and getting back dressed all in the same motion. Instead of enjoying a quiet ride on the train to school, I now have to drive and fight through traffic in an attempt not to miss class my whole 8AM class. As I grab my bag and keys, my mom stops me and tells me to wait. She said, “Ain’t no need in rushing. You already late and if you go speeding off, you can end up with a ticket or in an accident.” My dad comes out of the bedroom and follows up with, “And the last thing you want on your conscience is being responsible for taking someone else’s life.”
They made me come inside, sit down and close the door. My mom went on to prepare for her day, while my dad continued the lecture. I was nineteen and completely irresponsible. I had started to make a habit of this morning rush routine, and it had caught the attention of my parents. “You need to start doing what you need to do, to get to where you need to be, at the time you need to be there. Speeding can get somebody hurt.”
Since then, I haven’t rushed to a destination. As I have gotten older, I have tried as hard as possible, to incorporate those same rules with life in general.
“Oh my goodness! I’ll be twenty-eight this month! Oh no! I don’t even own a house yet! Oh crap! Hopefully, I can finish my degree within the next year or so! Oh shoot! If don’t get married soon, I may not be able to have five kids! And what about my writing? Bestsellers don’t write themselves!”
Questions and worries like these will send you into a frenzy (also known as road rage). Keep in mind, that these panic-provoking questions only come in bundles of three or more. These are just a few of mine. What are yours? I’m sure you have a few goals that seem far away or out of sight.
When these panic attacks happen, I try to relate it back to traffic. “Okay, I may be running late, but I can still make it there.” The important thing is to realize that it is not the end of the world. I get up and prepare for work. The only difference is that I no longer have the pleasure of watching the news or stopping for coffee. I don’t look for shortcuts, because the route I take is already the quickest way. A shortcut could easily turn into unknown roads more wasted time. So I drive the speed limit to my job, and it is never as bad as I thought it was when I get there. When I get there, do you know what I get?
“Good morning, Reg.”
“Tim brought Krispy Kreme.”
You know what I never get?
“Reggie! The CEO came down and asked for your third quarter reports from 2007!”
Now I am in no way condoning being late or not taking care of your responsibilities. I am only saying that we should not be so focused on our shortcomings that we rush into a traffic jam. Ask yourself, “Did I do what I was supposed to do today? Did I make good decisions? Did I waste time? What did I learn? Who helped me out? Who held me up?” If you can ask yourself questions like these to ensure you are on course, you will get to where you need to be. And when you get to where you need to be, you won’t remember the stop signs. You won’t remember the potholes. The roadblocks won’t mean anything, and the other crazy drivers will only be memories.
Realize that you have less time for mistakes and make the most of every opportunity. Don’t waste time, but don’t rush. Rushing comes with penalties and cause accidents; and accidents get people hurt. Shortcuts in life are called cheats. Cheats also get people hurt, and you have to pay with integrity. The thing about integrity is that it is something that you only have so much of; once it’s gone, it’s hard to get back.
Move steadily, quietly and humbly through life. Seek direction from God, because without Him, you’ll crash and burn anyway. Carpool. Pull someone along and help where you can. Enjoy the trip instead of stressing over the race, and everything will be okay.