Today as I barreled down the road on my "leisurely" walk, the story of the Missionary and his African guides came to mind.
On his first trip to Africa to set up a mission in a remote portion of the country, a young, driven missionary met his guides in town. "How long will it take to get to the village?" he asked. "Seven days" came the reply from his guide. "Well, we'll make it five" stated in the missionary in no uncertain terms.
Throughout the next few days the missionary drove the group of villagers hard, resting little and barely stopping to eat. He refused to unpack the entire camp either to eat or to sleep. The trip was meager even though they had plenty of provisions. On the fifth day when the missionary rose early to get a good head start on the trail none of the villagers would rise to pack. Frustrated the missionary demanded that everyone pack the provisions and head out on the trail but no one moved. Finally he demanded from the guide "why won't you listen to me, we are close to the village and we have made very good time. We have saved ourselves two days of traveling."
The wise guide made his reply. "Good Sir, we have obeyed you these five days, but we have moved too fast. We can not hear our spirits calling us. We must wait here and our spirits will catch up to our bodies then we will go to the village together."
Doesn't it seem as though this world tells us to move faster, ignore what is before our eyes and to look forward to things that are not yet here? Our spirits are calling but if we are lucky we only hear the faint whisper and if it has been so long since we actually slowed down that we barely recognize the sound. Maybe our Great Great Grandmothers knew the sound. Maybe it is missing completely from our lives and our souls cry out for what we have never known.
Today, don't just eat, savor. Don't just hear, listen. Don't just pray, commune. Don't just survive, live.