The following article hit news stands today. Ironically, though the piece is about a slower pace of life and living, I wrote it last minute before deadline and my editor fixed it up while in the early stages of child labor. Enjoy!
The day, as it where, is broken down into many different little segments of time. Some call these segments seconds, minutes, and hours while others prefer to use more general terms such as dawn, morning, afternoon, evening, night, and bed to describe their day. Either way, these various parts of the day have a tendency to fill up very quickly with things like commutes, appointments, errands, home renovations, a second job, night school, and even the rare visit to the gym. There just never seems to be enough time!
I do most of my living in the balanced part of the day; nothing extreme. I rarely stay up when the schedule says bed and I even more rarely get up when the schedule says dawn. My mornings generally belong to breakfast and newspapers, afternoons belong to noise and appointments, and evenings belong to wrestling with my son, Seinfeld re-runs, rock climbing with friends, and reading books with few pages, large print, and even larger margins.
Actually, if you were to browse through my library you would find that the margins of most of my books are written in, drawn or doodled on, in order to highlight the noteworthy bits of the book; I use the margins of my books to highlight the content.
I love margins. They are the spaces around the content which, when re-read, generally contain the most significant parts. Likewise, I’ve found that the slower I live and the more margins I build into my day and life, the more likely it is that I am able to really notice what the content of life is saying. I am more attuned to my wife and son; I am more productive at work; I respond more honestly to injustice; I am able to notice things like a sad face in the coffee shop or a co-worker who’s had a difficult week at home. Instead of merely tasking my way through life at a frantic and unsustainable pace, I am able to slowly explore and discover what life looks like at a slower pace, in rhythm, and with margins.
In fact, I think that as one reads Scripture, there is a theme of “margins” that pops up time and again and which should orient the way we live, know, and see. Psalms 46:10 reminds us, “Be still and know that I am God.” We are to have a perspective of living biblically called “Sabbath”; the ability to find rest even amidst the commotion and busyness of life. Further, while this orientation of slow living certainly includes rest and refreshment, it is also intricately connected to a rhythmic lifestyle of working, feasting, and partying. Sabbath is much more than a particular day or time; it is a way of living.
How do you live? Are you living slow enough to care about the things you care about? Are you tuned in to the people around you; your family, friends, and strangers? Have you allowed for the time and space in your life – the margins – where you are able to truly, honestly, and significantly live? What are the margins in your life highlighting?