I watched the movie, “The Switch”, with my dad this evening. It made me laugh and cry and think. I’m still thinking as one of the dialogues repeats in my head…
“Look at us, running around. Always rushed, always late. I guess that’s why they call it the human race. What we crave most in this world is connection.”
Somewhere between graduating college and becoming a “grown-up” with her own insurance, her own “grown-up” job, and the loan repayment plans, I jumped on the track and began running the human race. Well, maybe I was running it long before college even started. Regardless, tonight I realized I am running, but not elegantly like a wild horse through the mountains. No, I’m running like an awkward chicken that just got it’s head chopped off.
If you’ve ever seen a headless chicken run, you know what I’m talking about. As a 6 year old on Grandma & Grandpa’s farm, butchering day is terrifying. But as a 22 year old watching youtube videos of decapitated chickens, it’s quite reflective and sobering. Sure, there’s the weird flapping of the wings, which is really the adrenalin in the muscle tissue that gives the bird convulsions (thank you Google). But there’s this bird that shouldn’t be doing what it’s doing. This frenzied manner is the same that describes many of our lives. We have schedules and planners and calendars. We have appointments and dates and meetings. We have work. We have play. We have obligations and responsibilities. We have clocks and watches and alarms. We run, we swim, we ride, we bike, we walk. We talk fast, we eat fast, we drive fast. The human race.
A holiday, according to dictionary.com is a period of time where one is exempt form work, duty, or business. So why then, do the majority of people yearn for the rest that will come once the holidays are over? What an oxymoron. A holiday is about rest. It’s about ceasing what you normally do and acknowledging the holiness of that day. But yet, the holidays are busy, stressful, and exhausting. The human race.
We have toys. We don’t all love the same kind, but we all love our toys. Cars, books, ipads, paints, cameras, gaming systems, yarn, Netflix, jewelry, guitars, board games, snowmobiles, blogs, iTunes, gardens, fishing poles. Our toy started as an interest, something that connected us with people who liked the same thing. We received refreshment and enjoyment from our toy. But sometime between then and now, we slipped. We love this toy more than we love people. Of course, you’d never hear that come out of our mouths, but it’s true. We’d rather spend our time, our money, our thoughts on this toy. How we can get more? How we can improve? How we can make more? We’re awfully close to the line of obsession. The human race.
And with all of this running, we’re drained. We’re weary and worn out. We’re impatient and easily annoyed. We’re discouraged and downhearted. We have headaches and worries and tears. And we feel more isolated than ever before. All of these technological advances in an effort to connect us with others around the world leaves us sitting alone at night, staring at our computer in silence. All of this running has made us hungry, but not for more toys or more running. We’re yearning and aching for something real. We crave connection. Deep, meaningful connection.
Just as the headless chicken should not be running around, we should not be in this frenzied manner. We were made to breathe, to sit, to dream, to enjoy, to rest, to listen. This life was never meant to be done alone. But in this human race, we forget. We get so caught up in ourselves and our to-do list that we forget. We forget all the running will not rejuvenate, but only deplete us of our energy. We forget that all of our toys and busy agendas, if not balanced with real, life-giving relationships, will only leave us hungry.
Tonight is a call. A call to
stop running no, it’s a call to slow down. It’s a call to fight for what is real. It’s a call to reach out and connect. It’s a call to quit flapping your wings and convulsing. The human race will continue. It cannot and should not be stopped. But you do not have to run it at the same pace as everyone else.
Have you ever actually smelled the roses?