I once heard someone tell me that you should “grow where you’re planted”. Those words have never truly left me. When I take a closer look at myself, my home, my family, my neighbourhood, I am filled with a deeper sense of stillness. The roots I have planted here run very deep. They are an invitation for me to grow, not to move. The following passage from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress seems very apt:
Excerpts on the Slough of Despond and Giant Despair
“Now I saw in my dream, that just as they had ended this talk, they drew nigh to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain: and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was Despond. Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and Christian, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.
PLIABLE: Then said Pliable, Ah, neighbor Christian, where are you now?
CHRISTIAN: Truly, said Christian, I do not know.
PLIABLE: At this Pliable began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, Is this the happiness you have told me all this while of? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect between this and our journey’s end? May I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone for me. And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and Christian saw him no more.
Wherefore Christian was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone; but still he endeavored to struggle to that side of the slough that was farthest from his own house, and next to the wicket-gate; the which he did, but could not get out because of the burden that was upon his back: but I beheld in my dream, that a man came to him, whose name was Help, and asked him what he did there.
CHRISTIAN: Sir, said Christian, I was bid to go this way by a man called Evangelist, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come. And as I was going thither, I fell in here.
HELP: But why did not you look for the steps?
CHRISTIAN: Fear followed me so hard that I fled the next way, and fell in.
HELP: Then, said he, Give me thine hand: so he gave him his hand, and he drew him out,Psalm 40:2, and he set him upon sound ground, and bid him go on his way.
Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, “Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the city of Destruction to yonder gate, is it, that this plat is not mended, that poor travellers might go thither with more security?” And he said unto me, “This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond; for still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arise in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place: and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.”
Why does everyone want something now? Or yesterday? What is wrong with waiting? Have we forgotten how to wait? Have we no time for delayed gratification?
So where do they pass me? They pass me in their car. They pass me at work. They pass me in the street. They pass me in the supermarket. They pass me in conversation. They pass me in their thinking.
No time for strangers to become acquainted. No time for eye contact. No time to smile.
So why wait? Why take it easy? Well, you can sense more, see more, hear more, feel more, taste more, enjoy more. Why rush from start to finish when there is so much to experience along the way?
So enjoy the ride. Enjoy the journey. Take in the view, breathe in the air and feel your own existence. For destinations and objectives eventually yield to new journeys, new riches, new vistas, new people and renewal. Life is a journey to be enjoyed and lived to the full. We are not machines. We are not slaves to technology.
If we are reduced to goals and objectives, our humanity, compassion and vitality is lost. We are more than machines. We are more than disposable human resources. Let us enjoy who we are and in our own good time.
Time may wait for no man…but man must know the virtue of patience.