I walk (or sometimes run) up escalators. I seek out the shortest queue. I try to work out the quickest route through a phone options list. I leave as little time as possible between walking out of the door before I need to get to the station or bus stop. I look for opportunities to overtake other cars if they're not travelling at the speed limit (as long as it's safe!) And I wrote some words about this a few months ago when I'd spent time with Phil Sewell going to the hospital with him.
But this week, I've just finished reading "The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry" by John Mark Comer. There was one phrase (amongst many good things) that really struck me. "Love walks". Like the author, I was able to identify that the times when I'm at my worst are when I'm in a hurry. I get impatient with Theo over how long he's taking to get ready for school; I get cross with Jo if she doesn't pull out from a junction in the micro-gap of traffic that I'm sure I'd have slotted into without cutting anyone up; I look for a way past the older person walking (probably as fast as they can) along the crowded pavement and wonder why they're not aware of the urgency of my journey; I get annoyed at the person in front of me in the traffic queue who doesn't seem to know where their handbrake is... Those examples, and plenty more, are lacking in love. You could say they're devoid of love.
Jesus walked. And sat. And listened. And focussed. And sat some more. And walked some more. And he didn't just walk because there were no cars (he could have used a cart or horse). He walked because, in walking with people you get to understand their journey, and you learn how to love them more.
The other thing that struck me from the book was some explanation about the verse, Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." As a rabbi, Jesus' teaching was known as his "yoke", and to be yoked to someone's teaching was a picture drawn from when two oxen are yoked together to plough a field. One of the oxen is older, more experienced, and stronger, whilst the other is still learning, younger and still growing in strength. Jesus' invitation to take his yoke is to say, "come and plough the land with me, walk with me, learn from me, but I'll do the heavy work and you'll find that you are carried along with what I do and how I do it." You can't do that if you're running. Horses that draw a carriage are harnessed together but they're not yoked, and they're paired equally so that the carriage is pulled in a straight line.
So, love walks; it's unhurried; it gives time to another; and gives them the opportunity to learn and grow. I'm going to try to be a bit more unhurried in how I approach life for myself and with others, and practice taking Jesus' yoke in the day-to-day stuff of life.