I used to think I was a fairly good communicator. Now I’m not so sure. It used to be that my wife and I were almost always on the same wavelength and could finish the other’s sentence/thought and be spot on. At work, our slogan is we’re The Communicators. It’s on all our emails, brochures, etc. But more and more of late I’m noticing that my wife and I really don’t communicate as well as we used to. I’m also sending out more and more emails answering questions from my clients that should have been answered in the report I just sent them.
What’s causing this apparent deterioration of my communication skills? Age, texting rather than talking, me not listening, which is what my wife would say, are something else? I actually think the problem is a whole lot bigger, more inclusive, and more damaging than just communication issues.
I’ve been challenged over the years by the book The Life You’ve Always Wanted by Dr. John Ortberg where he quotes some advise given him by his mentor Dr. Dallas Willard. It seems he was concerned about the level of his activities and it’s impact on his spiritual and personal life. The advise, “you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life”. Dr. Ortberg goes on to extrapolate on this theme and states “Hurry is not just a disordered schedule. Hurry is a disordered heart”. Freud contemporary Dr. Carl Jung said “Hurry is not of the devil, hurry is the devil”.
We live in a fast paced society where multi-tasking is encouraged and rewarded and the number of entries in our Daily Planners determines how important/valuable we are. We are a culture obsessed with doing things faster and often at the expense of quality and relationships. We thrive on fast food restaurants; one stop shopping; rapid oil changes; drive through banks, cleaners, coffee kiosks, people needing prayer, marriages, church services and on and on. We’re to busy for breakfast, a pop tart, energy bar will do. We don’t even have time for coffee anymore, a Red Bull will get us moving. Get the picture.
But! there’s a high price paid for this lifestyle and that price is the very essence of who we are. It’s hard to take the time to know and love people when you are running from appointment to appointment. Think about it, doctors are having to see more and more patients which means they might spend 5 minutes with you. How well can you get to know someone that you spend 5 minutes with twice a year? Most of us are no different. How well do you really know the people you work with, your neighbors, relatives….?
This phenomenon is subtle. Let me illustrate. When I started my blog it was a way for me to deal with my grief and, hopefully, contribute positively to others dealing with grief. Ever so quickly my blog has become another deadline to meet. Consequently, I’m spending more and more of the time I use to spend with family and friends hurrying to get this weeks blog out. It’s gone from helping me deal with my grief to another task to perform. Our hurry up lifestyle is sucking the life out of our “time” for and with people and we think that every time-saving device we can find will free up more time for tasks, not people! Texting feeds right into this mind set. I don’t have time to talk with, you fill in the blank, I’ll just drop ’em a quick text.
The solution, we must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from our lives!
What has hurrying got me? When I think back to all the family and friends that I should have stayed in touch with over the years but didn’t because I was too busy. When I think of all the meals with family and friends that I’ve missed because I was in a hurry. When I think of all the books I rushed through because there were 10 more that I wanted to read. When I think of the time sacrificed at the alter of hurry that I could have, should have, spent with my wife, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors….When I think of all the sunsets, rainbows, star bursts, children’s “firsts”,……I’ve missed, I now see that the price paid wasn’t worth it, it wasn’t worth it at all. I don’t remember many of the things I was hurrying to do over my life but I do remember what I’ve missed out on. What has hurrying got me? It has got me absolutely nothing! But it’s cost a fortune in time spent loving and caring for people.
According to Dr. Ortberg ” love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible”. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life before hurry has eliminated your very reasons for living.