A Speed Limit for Life

A Speed Limit for Life
When I was a kid during the Great Depression, a popular free entertainment for my family — except for the cost of gas which was only ten cents a gallon — was going for a drive in the Nebraska countryside. Driving out of the city we enjoyed looking at the corn, the other crops, and the colorful wildflowers along the highway.

Today, driving isn’t for going on a leisurely ride to look at the landscape, but for getting from one place to another as fast as the speed limit allows. At high speeds, even if we think we are seeing what we pass, we don’t see much. As Mao Tse-Tung said: “If we look at flowers from a galloping horse, even though we may look daily, it is like not having seen them at all.” I’m not promoting driving while gazing out your car windows, but rather to budget beforehand your driving time to allow a few minutes to stop and truly see whatever is along the street or road. The slower you move, the more you see, on foot or in an automobile. So move slower if you wish to see the wonders of life and creation around you.

When speeding through life, deputize me
to arrest myself and sermonize me,
“I caught you speeding. Slow down,”
lest in that whizzing by I miss you.

From A Book of Wonders by Ed Hays


How to Be a Hero
Perhaps every youth aspires to be a hero, yet this aspiration is often stunted by having to make a living, caring for the needs of a family, and other social duties. To be a hero requires giving a gift, and if you are an average person then the gift you give is specified by your society. However, creative people must craft a particularly unique personal gift to give that usually isn’t the one pre-determined by society. Creative people do not give the typical gift that society expects, and instead give the ultimate gift of themselves to the highest powers of life, to God. Yet as Ernest Becker says, to renounce the world and oneself by placing the meaning of your life before the powers of creation is the hardest thing any person can achieve. It should not be surprising then, that history records only a few truly great heroes. Likewise, it isn’t surprising that the average person, in his or her quest to be heroic, is content to only give those gifts specified by their society.

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Inspire me to fulfill my heroic destiny
by not giving society’s specified gift,
but by giving the indispensable gift of myself
to the Amazing Mystery of the Cosmos.

From A Book of Wonders by Ed Hays


Prayer action suggestion:
When is the last time you gave the gift of yourself? Make it a regular, conscious practice.


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