lake in the foreground with reeds to the left and weeping willow hanging from the top. In the distance is an island, its reflection clear in the water

2022 Grateful 21: Hurry Sickness

Hurry sickness. It was a new one on me, something I could relate to but hadn’t ever heard named. Hurry sickness.

One of the few subscriptions I read regularly is the UCB Word for Today. Sometimes what it sends me isn’t relevant. I’m not a parent. I don’t have kids. I’m not a minister. Most days though, I find something I can relate to. And it certainly makes a change from reading about the inanity of the current government. [How sad is it that no matter where you’re reading this, the words inane + government will likely go happily hand in hand.] In Hungary, it’s bordering on the surreal. Not hurry sickness. Soul sickness.

rolling hills and valleys in the foreground with a lake in the background and the silahouette of a table mountain on the horizon with a blue cloud-filled sky

Some years ago, when we first discovered the wonders of Zala county, we drove with a friend across the dike road to a restaurant on the far side of the Kis-Balaton. I still had both feet firmly planted in Budapest and wasn’t yet driving in Hungary. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had hurry sickness. It felt as if we were crawling, as if I could have walked faster than they were driving.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m the one everyone passes out. I drive like an old lady on a Sunday afternoon, every afternoon. I’m rarely if ever in a rush anywhere. Okay, maybe there might be a slight panic if, halfway to the train station I realise I’ve forgotten my phone. But I’m getting better at remembering. Not names or places, mind you, but things I’m supposed to have with me.

I take a perverse pleasure in rolling up behind some guy at the traffic lights who’d sped past me minutes earlier. And I use the word ‘guy’ advisedly – 95% of the time those who overtake me are men.

Queue jostlers in the airport make me laugh, too. Yes, I like to board first, if I have carry-on baggage. I fly better if my suitcase is in the overhead compartment above my head or across the aisle. I’ve no idea why it relaxes me. It just does. So I queue. Happily. But if I have a backpack that will go under the seat in front of me, I’m equally happy to wait. The plane isn’t going anywhere.

Likewise disembarking. Why the rush?

Anyway, WFT had this to say recently:

Have you heard of ‘hurry sickness’? Those who have it zoom in and out of lanes in congested traffic; try to be the first off the plane, even though they must wait forever at baggage claim; honk at you if you don’t take off like a racehorse when the traffic light turns green; tap their fingers against anything they can find when they have to wait; punch the lift button repeatedly to attempt to move it faster. They remind us of hummingbirds. These tiny birds can fly forward, then hover in mid-air going nowhere. Their tiny wings can move up to seventy-five times each second! The trouble is, their average life span is only three years compared to an eagle that lives thirty years. What’s the difference? The eagle has learned to conserve its energy by riding the God-given wind currents. The message here is simple: when you draw on the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, you last longer and go higher than you ever dreamed. One pastor said he was a ‘stress-distributing machine’ when he was younger, and everybody around him felt it. One day one of his kids said to him, ‘Daddy, I’ll try to hurry up and tell you this.’ He replied, ‘It’s okay, honey, you can speak slowly.’ After a long pause, he had an ‘aha’ moment when his child said, ‘Then – listen – slowly!’ Deciding to move at a slower pace will definitely improve the quality of your life and your relationships.

That idea of being a stress-distributing machine is one to ponder, too.

I’m exceedingly grateful that while I’m in the countryside, I show zero signs of hurry sickness. But when I go back to the city for more than 24 hours, I begin to feel the effects.  It’s more difficult there to be slow, to go slow, as I tend to get caught up in the tide of humanity that seems hellbent on getting to tomorrow yesterday.

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