I don’t really want to go slow. I daydream about slow evenings on a front porch (a front porch I don’t currently have, but would love someday) sipping ice-cold lemonade. But let’s be honest. It makes me anxious. Slow means fewer check marks. It’s unsatisfying and even painful. There’s no instant gratification.
I grew up playing card games like Nertz and Dutch Blitz. Speed is essential in those games. The hustle and the quickness required to win outweighs the importance of accuracy. If you’re fast enough, you can even get away without a few mistakes (or intentional “misdirection”). But that pace is unsustainable.
When I was in eighth grade, my science teacher had us stand on our chairs as we repeated Newton’s laws of motion. There’s something about putting our bodies in a different posture that makes a lesson stick. To this day, I can picture standing up on my chair reciting how an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force (and other science-y things I’ve since forgotten).
I view life a little too much like the laws of motion sometimes. I fear once I stop, I may never start again. If I rest, will I stay there forever? Will I become stagnant? So I keep going. Inertia will do its part, and I’ll be able to keep on keepin’ on, right? Moving feels more comfortable, more satisfying—for a while at least. And then I realize I’m moving in the wrong direction, or I slam headfirst into a wall called burnout or sickness or whatever else. I’ve hit that wall enough times in the past to know I’m bound to smack my face again.
I’ve been thinking on Psalm 131 lately, especially verse 2 that says, “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
My soul is more often like a loud, screaming toddler who doesn’t want to go to bed. It’s like a kid who doesn’t want to let go of what their doing even though the slowing and stopping is needed and even enjoyable.
What would it take to quiet my soul?
What does it mean to rest, despite what’s going on around us and all that needs to be done?
What if I didn’t have to go so fast and then slam on the breaks to avoid catastrophe?
What if I lived my life with a soul and body that were slow, calm, quiet, rested, and refueled?
And what if, instead of trying to wriggle free, I found complete comfort, contentment, and peace in the arms of God?
I don’t have a five-step plan or an easy answer. But I’m dwelling on the questions. In our harried and hurried world, I think we’d do well to practice the art of slowness—maybe even stillness. I’m (slowly) learning what it looks like for me, and even that’s bound to change with the seasons of life.
It can be scary practice. As we calm and quiet our bodies, we start to see the unrest of our souls. Slowing down forces us to stop hiding our inner chaos behind a wall of to-dos. But I think that’s when we really start to learn slowness and stillness. Our bodies no longer run like a machine but as a sacred gift that points us to an infinite, tireless, omnipotent Giver. As as we rest in him, our souls become calm, our spirits quiet. And like a weaned child with its mother, we get to know the slowness, stillness, and complete peace that comes from being in the arms of our God.
Ginger + Honey Sparkling Lemonade
Yields about 8 servings
2 ½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (fresh really does make a difference!)
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger*
6-8+ cups sparkling water**
To make the base of the lemonade, add the lemon juice, sugar, honey, and ginger to a small saucepan. Turn on medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, and the mix comes to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool. Strain to remove the pieces of ginger. (If you prefer, you can skip this step so the ginger continues to infuse flavor in the lemonade.)
Refrigerate the lemonade base until cold, up to a couple days in advance.
When you’re ready to serve, transfer the lemonade base to a pitcher or individual glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water to taste, and stir gently. If you’d like to make it a cocktail, add a splash of vodka or top off each glass with prosecco. Enjoy!
*This gives a subtle ginger taste, but feel free to add more if you want it stronger.
**You can adjust the amount of sparkling water to make the lemonade the strength you prefer. I usually prefer a bit more sparkling water, but adjust it to your taste. You can also use regular water for a non-carbonated lemonade.