Framed and gifted to me by my mother – July 2013 –

by Wilfred A. Peterson

Slow me down, Lord.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace.
Give me, amidst the day’s confusion
the calmness of the everlasting hills.

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

Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art
of taking minute vacations….
slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me
of the fable of the hare and the tortoise;
that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than measuring its speed.

Let me look up at the branches of the towering oak
and know that … it grew slowly … and well.

Inspire me
to send my own roots down deep…
into the soil of life’s endearing values…
That I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.

Slow me down, Lord.

The last time I visited my mother was in July 2013. During that special visit, the last time I was to see her, she gifted me this special poem which she had hanging on the wall in her hallway. She had mentioned to me on other visits that she was going to give this to me when she died- it had my name on it.

She didn’t wait for that to happen. On this last visit, she felt I was moving too fast and cautioned me to slow down. She talked about how I had always moved so fast that nothing could catch me. I had come in the world that way.

My Mother had actually been my employee at one time, so she was well aware of how I moved even when I worked; funny thing is that was also how she always worked.

Intuitively, I really had known for a number of years that I was moving way too fast, hardly stopping to “plug in.” I even said to my mother at one juncture that I was “borrowing from the future.”

My mother’s words and insight were not a surprise to me. She told me as I was packing this beautifully framed poem to hang it where I could see it every day. That was my intent.

I did hang it at my work place, where I knew I would be every day, but old habits die hard and I forgot it was there.

I continued to move at the speed of light, working 12-16 hours a day, rarely a day off, and did not heed the prose that hung on the wall before me. In fact, I was moving too fast to even focus on those words.

In December 2013 I was in a head on collision. I had contusions of the chest, one knee and a broken knee. My car was totaled and my body was banged, bruised and shaken. With a brace on my knee and plenty of ibuprofen, I got up and started moving at nearly the same speed I had been. I think I was afraid if I stopped, I might not be able to get going again.

I live in a multi-level house and the doctor asked how I managed to get up and down the stairs in my condition, especially with a brace on my right leg. I was actually stunned at his question.

I winced in disbelief and replied, “I walk sideways like a crab.”

That really wasn’t funny and I didn’t answer that way to be funny. I thought surely everyone would do the same. After all, I had responsibilities and I had survived that collision. I couldn’t stop now.

The accident happened on snow and ice. When I saw the truck swirling round and round on the road, coming from the other direction, I totally stopped, thinking the driver was going to hit the side of the mountain. No, he hit me.

I was told by the DPS Office that if I had been moving, I would be dead. They could not see where he lost traction but they did know he was going 45 mph in the skid.

Since I was alive and could still move, I took that information to mean that I had a lot left to do in life. God had spared me and I had no time to waste.

While still healing and moving as fast as my brace would allow, my mother passed away and then my sister. I had built a business that I put all of my energy into and circumstances caused me to make the choice to leave. Then, I got pneumonia.

None of these things stopped me until the pneumonia. I was so sick and when I read about the pneumonia, I was frightened about a possible relapse. I was truly at a standstill or a lay/sit/be still.

I rested and began to make some necessary changes in my life, but still not enough.

I do read the poem now. I see it every day and I am doing my best to implement those words into my daily life. My goal this year is to find balance.

Now that I have slowed down a little… yes, a little, but it’s a start – for the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. That said, on occasion I reflect back on 2013 and the many subtle and then not-so-subtle messages that were sent to me along the way that I ignored.

Even before my mother gave me the beautifully framed poem which contained the wisdom I should have heeded, intuitively I knew I needed to make some changes.

Today, I no longer believe that head on collision was a message telling me to do more, move faster and to not slow down.

I BELIEVE my mother gave me that poem when she did because she sensed something would happen if I continued moving at my current pace.

What I BELIEVE… today, is that the head on collision was a bigger message for me, because I had failed to heed those smaller ones that kept coming at me, so I am LISTENING.

SLOW ME DOWN, LORD, so I can plug in from time to time to re-charge my battery so that I can do those things I like to do for others; so that I can do a great job at my work and can even make time for my own personal needs, which deserve to be met.

I BELIEVE…I will NOW take those minute vacations.  It is my year to SIMPLIFY.

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