Viewpoint from Rev Dr Alan Palmer 08/03/2019
Revd Dr Alan Palmer
Lead Chaplain at James Paget University Hospital
as published in the Yarmouth Mercury
Take a Break: the need for pauses in our hectic lives
Recently a friend asked me if I worked 24/7. The truth is I don’t, but sometimes it feels like it. My life feels like it has stepped onto one of those airport walk ways which just moves you in a direction like it or not. Our society seems to live at break neck speed with no sign of slowing down. We live in a hurry up world; some would say a ‘hurry sick world’. We rush for the bus, we growl to ourselves when we’re in the car and the traffic light turns red. We sometime even experience what one psychologist calls the “Honko-Second”. This is the time it takes for the person in the car behind us to honk their horn after the lights have turned green. We hate to que for anything, and its Murphy’s Law that if we change ques – the one we step into grinds to a blinking halt!
We are time poor. We just don’t seem to have enough of it to go round. The Romans used to say tempus fugit – time flies, and it certainly does feel that way now I’m the wrong side of sixty. We feel pressurized to keep up with schedules, shopping, chauffeuring the kids, cleaning the house, cutting the grass and paying the bills. We feel fraught, angry and anxious. When the computer doesn’t come on, or when it comes on all we see is the ‘doughnut off doom’. When there’s a techno failure we are ready to blow a fuse! Someone has said that we are the generation who stands in front of a microwave screaming ‘for ******* sake will you hurry up’. And then there is the TV, Box Sets, Netflix to keep up with. In the end we can’t keep up and so have to catch up on TVCatchup – BBC IPlayer etc. All this leaves us frazzled, frustrated and anxious; too much stuff, definitely too little time!
Ghandi said “There is more to life than increasing speed”. The Bible says that we should slow down and take a break at least once a week. The word for this is Sabbath and it literally means ‘stop what you are doing’. Jesus said that if we don’t slow down and spend time with him - we will fall apart. Maybe we need to slow down, take a break, walk along the beach, go to the park, turn the TV off and talk to our friends and families. The author of Winnie the Pooh, A.A Milne, wrote “Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits”. Not a bad idea Mr Milne – I think I might just try that. Maybe I’ll take a break and have a KitKat. Sounds good to me; what about you dear reader?
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