‘Tis a beautiful day in Wisconsin’s North Country, a day to inhale the sweet fragrance of newly-mowed grass and burgeoning buds on the lilac bushes. Let’s not get so busy with life’s To Do’s that we miss these precious gifts from our Creator God.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
My former garden had slugs. Ugh! I tried several methods to eradicate the gastropods, but none worked. They seemed to multiply like mice. The yucky pests ate me out of lettuce and carrots. And to think that people actually eat the things! Of course, many species of snails have shells, which are not as offensive to the touch or sight.
Snails are among the slowest critters on earth—traveling about 150 feet an hour. They don’t hop or jump, but propel themselves forward by vibrating their foot. The mucus they produce, probably their most offensive trait, helps them slide forward smoothly, both horizontally and vertically. It also helps protect their soft bodies.
Snails don’t fit well in our fast-paced society. These days, we’re in such a hurry that we like to receive our information in bites or bytes. Many of us tend to skim our newspapers rather than read them word for word. Some of us even finish sentences for people who speak “as slow as a snail.” Our culture has lost the art of listening with both ears rather than with just one. We’ve decided that if we hurry, we can accomplish more. But do we? And at what cost?
“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to … keep silence and a time to speak …” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7) Perhaps we need to learn when to keep our mouths shut. I encounter people who habitually interrupt others in speech. God forbid, I’m just as guilty.
Slowing down to a snail’s pace means giving up our bragging rights and our negative emotions. Slowing down means choosing to abandon our selfish thoughts for the sake of listening to people. It means keeping our feet on the ground, like the snails, to avoid flying off the anger handle or mentally multitasking. It means to consciously gear down to a slower speed.
The Bible gives us good advice. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19) Such advice takes practice. With God’s help, we can succeed. With God’s help, we can renew our minds to slow down, like the snail, and still accomplish what we must.
Lord, thank You for offering to show us when to slow down. Teach us what is most important in our lives so we can be Your worthy representatives as we share the Good News of Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.