The other day I was sitting in an unnamed coffee shop (it might have been Starbucks) when a friend stopped in to pick up his coffee. The one he had ordered online and was waiting for him on the counter. Pretty slick and definitely the way to go when you’re on the go.
Which is part of the problem. We are often on the go and seldom have time to sit. Or think. Or simply be. While there are undoubtedly things that require immediate action, there are also things in life that can only happen slowly. And to the degree that we are abandoning times and places to move more slowly, we are abandoning our ability to embrace these things.
I am presently sitting at another coffee shop reading The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu. Forgiveness is one of those things. It takes time to remember and acknowledge stories of hurt. It takes time (and courage) to acknowledge words or actions that have caused pain in the lives of others. It’s not always clear to me how I have hurt others, either because I refuse to see it or am unable see it. On the other hand, if we have been wounded, it can take even longer to move anger to empathy and perhaps even healing. These are long, complex and difficult journeys.
I believe that we need to recreate spaces in which we can listen to our stories (or the stories of others) and simply be. Having recently emerged from a difficult and emotionally exhausting season, I am more attuned to this. What I don’t need is advice or five easy steps to renew my energy. What I actually need is space to remember what happened and how it affected me. These are things that can only happen slowly. They require time.
And a good cup of tea.