15 Nov Race at Right Pace
We live in an age of fast pace. Fast food, super fast/bullet train, smart and fast city, supersonic jet, smart mobiles, high speed internet, fastest communication, fastest super computation, information highway, fast breeder reactor, automatic vending dispenser and automated technology mark our everyday lives .In modern society, life assumes rapid stride because everyone hurries and there are so many exciting things to do. From the early morning when the alarm clock rings till we repose in the night, we spin around. Preparing for school, college or workplace and carrying out all activities with lightning speed are very common scenes. Meeting the deadline eventually puts us in race against time. Many times we sigh if at all we had time. Poet H. W. Longfellow describes, “Art is long, time is fleeting. . . with a heart for any fate, still achieving, still pursuing. . . ”
Accelerated momentum in life drives to rat race. Rat race pervades every phase of life. There is competition to get admission into school. Students compete against each other to do better. Contest becomes tougher as they vie for admission to colleges, especially professional colleges. Race continues while pursuing courses in coveted institutions and entering into professional career. Rat race for power, influence and wealth intensifies in professions too. A rat race is filled with an illusion of things that look like they will bring fulfilment in life. It brings unhealthy competition among peers. A few gain and the many lose. Race may be won but at the expense of many. It spreads acrimony, conflict and un-conducive climate. Stress builds up affecting mental and physical health. Demand of work induces isolation from others, affects interpersonal communication and causes burnt-outs. It may lead to wrong decisions and sometimes drives for resorting to extreme steps. After tirelessly chasing the things that life offers, we soon come to find out that all these things are not worth the race with its madness.
Now-a-days, instant coffee seems the best. Cooking in micro-oven appears to be slow. Quick-fix does not solve the issue as swiftly as expected. Solomon, the Preacher, observes the swiftest does not win the race. We miss many things in haste. Nature teaches us how it takes its own pace and time for the seed to germinate and bloom to its fullest. Caterpillar metamorphoses into beautiful butterfly through different stages. One who rushes through without waiting for the process may not achieve the intended results. Even if one reaches the goal; he loses many things in the process. “Therefore, flight shall perish from the swift. The strong shall not strengthen his power.” Abraham, the father of faith, tried to hasten God’s plan. God promised Abraham land and a family. As Abraham did not have the son for sometime, he expedited to provide a family for him through his servant rather than to trust and wait on God. Another instance of hasty action was on the part of King Saul when the Israelites were about to go for war against the Philistines. They gathered together and waited for Prophet Samuel for seven days to make a burnt offering to God. But Samuel did not turn up. Every day the chance was that the Philistines would attack. So, King Saul took the matter in his own hands and performed the sacrifice. As soon as Saul did this, Samuel showed up and said to Saul, “What have you done? You have acted foolishly. The Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever, but now your kingdom shall not continue.” But that is what happens when we try to hurry up. David, who followed King Saul, was exactly the opposite. God told David through the prophet Samuel, that he would be king after Saul. Time and again, David had opportunity to kill Saul and take over the throne. But David wanted God’s plan to be carried out in God’s way according to God’s timing.
When we wait upon the Lord, we hear His still small voice and He guides to walk in the right path. Many of us have not listened to His voice for long in this cacophony of full packed activities in life! Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord. Waiting on the Lord is not a wastage of time. These are the right moments and days to be moulded in conformity to the image of the Master. He will not make any mistake with us and He will give the best. Those who wait on the Lord will not be ashamed and as such will not lag behind. Moreover, “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Best lessons of life are learnt in quietness. In quietness shall be the strength. In solitude, we reflect and contemplate on life and build up confidence to face any situation. Storms cannot assail our lives when we nurture quietness in agility. Wise king Soloman writes, “To everything there is a reason, a time for every purpose under heaven. . . He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Will Rogers, American columnist and social commentator, once said, “Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.” Time is an important tool in our hands for accomplishments. In recent years, flexi time for work is allowed in a few organisations for a specific period. Flexible working simply refers to any working schedule that is outside of a normal working pattern. The working hours, instead of being repetitive and fixed, can involve changes and variations. It can mean the employee has freedom of variables of time and place of work. Against the straight jacket of fixed work timing, flexitime allows to perform the work at one’s own convenience on one hand and to attend to personal obligations on the other. In a survey, 62% respondents feel flexitime is an important factor in the job. Flexitime may strike balance between work and life to some extent besides improving performance in the job. It may also reduce stress. But flexi-time work comes with rules and with the mandate of meeting the deadline. Some people end up working more hours under flexitime arrangement than usually fixed. Flexible life style is desirable but it should not be so flexible that one loses control over it. Life style, however flexible, should be couched with discipline.
There is always a tug of war between speeding up and taking time. Our move need not be always actuated with fast-forward or slow-forward, but ought to be right-forward. Whatever may be the pace, all run the race. Do not run aimlessly or like the one fights like a boxer beating the air.. It is important to run with perseverence the race that is set before us. So, run to win.
References: Eccl.9:11, Amos 2:14, Gen 16, I Sam 13, Psa. 25:3, Isa.40:31 & 30:15, Eccl.3:11 & 17, I Cor. 9:26 & 24, Heb.12:1-2.
Dr. Nanda Dulal
The author presently resides in Bangalore with his family. He and his wife Geetanjali are involved with UESI ministry right from their student days.