Lent and Well-being: Slowing down

Slow me down, Lord. Slow me down!

Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind . . .
Give me, amid the confusion of my day,
the calmness of the everlasting hills. 

Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art of taking one-minute vacations,
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to pat a dog,
to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise,
that I may know that the race is not always to the swift
but that there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak
and know that it is great and strong
because it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots
deep into the soil of life’s enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars
of my greater destiny.

 —Wilfred A. Peterson (1900–51), from Pocket Prayers for Healing (Trevor Lloyd, Church House Publishing, 2012).

We’re into the week now, and the urge to rush towards deadlines is hard to resist. But Lent calls us to slow down, to pay attention to what really matters. I like the idea of the 1-minute vacation. From where I sit at my desk, I can see the late afternoon sunlight filtering gently through the sheer curtains. It’s a small thing, an ordinary thing, and beautiful.