It’s the Slow Things that Matter

We live in an age where we expect everything to come quickly. Cities built overnight. Islands reclaimed from the sea. New technologies transforming our lives. The latest and greatest.

That’s how human systems work. In our ingenuity, we build our towers of Babel at lightning speed, and they fall just as quickly.

Remember the VHS tape? Came out of nowhere, revolutionized the industry. Now gone. Or how about the Soviet Union? It arose in a sudden coup, conquered half of Europe, and had the free world shaking in its boots for decades. Kids today know it only from history books, if at all. Consigned to the dustbin of history.

Our many creations of silicon and steel are no match for the enduring power that grows slowly, organically, incrementally. The caves beneath the earth took millions of years to develop, and they’ll be here long after we are gone. Each one of us took 9 months (give or take) to develop in the womb before we were ready to make our debut, and we’re all still growing, learning, changing to the very end.

As I reflect on which things in my life matter most, it’s easy for me to measure myself based on those quick wins. Where I work, the neighborhood I live in, which products I use, wear, eat, drive. All those things that come fast, and go just as quickly.

But what really matters at the end of the day are the slow-cooked elements of my life; the relationships that emerge over time – years and decades, not weeks or months. These are the commitments that endure beyond the froth of the urgent.

These are the deepest, most sacred parts of my life: My grounding relationship with God. My marriage, which keeps evolving and unfolding with every passing year. Friendships that take on new flavors with age. Commitment to place, to a portion of the earth that God has given me to care for. These are the slow things that will matter long after today’s ephemeral gadgets, stock prices, and political controversies are lost to the trash heap.

What are the slow things that lie at the heart of your existence? What will be left tomorrow, when today’s distractions fade away? Where is the steady drip of commitment in your life, your investment in those things that truly matter?

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