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
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?