Why We Need to Go Where Time Stands Still

Old MacHave you ever noticed how friendly people tend to gravitate toward nature? No matter what state I’m in or what trail I’m on, I typically run into the nicest folks while hiking in the mountains.

Last Saturday was no exception. While back home visiting family, my Dad and I made the eight mile, round-trip trek to the peak of Old Mac Mountain in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee.

Nearly every person we passed offered a pleasant greeting and most stopped for a brief conversation. One hiker was taking her beautiful, snow white husky named Indie out for his four-year-old birthday.

A couple of campers spoke excitedly about spending the weekend camping with their boys, and one of the men offered us some Pringles as he munched on them. As I studied their park trail map, I mentioned their Starbucks coffee bag on the table, and they invited us back for a cup the next morning. (Being that it was a 45 minute drive back, I settled for Mom’s morning Folger’s.)

We passed a family of three, as the man carted his ten-month-old son in tow down the mountain. “We take him out every weekend. He loves it!” Another family offered us hummus and carrots.

A couple of weary hikers wondered aloud whether they should continue up to the peak. I whipped out my camera and showed them the views from the lookout tower to encourage them to keep on going.

Where Time Stands Still vs. The Mall

This is what happens when we slow down long enough and time stands still – community, fellowship, conversation, awareness of others’ needs. Sure, these were just simple moments on a hiking trail, but all of these small acts of kindness are lost when our lives are lived at a frantic pace.

Contrast this experience with a typical trip to the mall. Shoppers are on a mission to find the next consumer good that they believe will make them “happy.” People walk by us, their heads buried, texting away.

Have you ever tried to make eye contact as you pass fellow mall shoppers? You may as well be on another planet. Most avoid eye contact at all costs. They look at their watches or turn their head so far back to the side that they are forced to visit the chiropractor afterward.

Nourishment to the Heart

Old Mac 2Not everyone who reads my blog is an avid hiker, and that is okay. The goal for all of us should be to find those places, both in terms of time and space, that bring nourishment to our hearts.

When we discover those spots where time stands still, we are reminded once again of our intrinsic needs for God, community, and each other. We have time, space, and energy to reflect on what matters. We are better able to invest in others’ lives because our plates are not so full. We become more like the men and women God has called us to be – less self-absorbed and more outward focused.

As the summer has unofficially departed us and life gets busy once again, let’s remember those moments and places where we have time to stop, chat, reflect, and invest.

Whether for you that is on a hiking trail, in a church, or sitting around the dinner table, we can still return to those places over and over again by intentionally carving out time to go where time stands still.

When time stands still, where do you go and what do you do?

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I have traveled to Guatemala the past three summers to a village called Xenacoj. Each time I have been there, I have been struck by how refreshing it is to slow down. I hope to return there soon. In the meantime, I’m learning to find opportunities to slow down in the rush, rush, rush of life here in America.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Very cool, Jon. I’m glad you have gotten a chance to experience trips overseas. Each time I have left the country, I am struck by the pace of life in other countries. In Australia, we stopped and had tea each day. In Thailand, people sat around outside and talked together. Even just traveling briefly into Mexico, the pace is noticeably slower. We could learn a lot about pace of life by other cultures.

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    We love walking – whether it’s the mountains (although we’re challenged in SE Texas), forests, or a local neighborhood we find that it allows us to talk and listen to one another. That connection is vital to our relationship.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      David, there is something about walking on a trail that causes us to dive deeper and grow in relationship. Glad you are intentionally making that a part of your life, even in flat SE Texas!

  • http://countingmyblessings.com/ BlessingCounter – Deb Wolf

    We are blessed to have the woods come up to the back of our house. So our still place is on our patio or sitting in our family room. We love it! Slowing our pace allows us to listen for the Lord and to each other. Great reminder.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      That sounds wonderful, Deb. The woods provide that perfect stillness for spending time in God’s presence.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    To “intentionally carving out time to go where time stands still” really gets at the heart of God, I believe, because it allows us to connect with Him more intimately and with each other as well. And doing so fulfills the greatest commandment to love Him and love others. When in Chicago a while back, I noticed how my husband and I were able to be so totally alone together even while surrounded by tons of people. While that was fitting for us focusing on one another, I was also struck by how lonely life can get in that setting. So, going where time stands still for the purpose of true connection is one of the best ways I know to ward off loneliness, and I am determined to make doing so a regular habit, not just on vacations.

    • http://www.trailreflections.com/ Chris Peek

      Exactly Kari. It’s hard to love Him and love others when our plates are consistently full. It’s striking what a lonely place the city can be – surrounded by millions of people and yet we can be completely lonely inside. It’s ironic how many interactions we can have with 10-20 people on a hiking trail, yet how few we can have while walking by hundreds, if not thousands, on the streets of Chicago.