The beautiful Val [tbV] and I have been in Oakland for a little over a month.
We cycle to work which is less than a mile away. But it means helmets and packed lunches and carrying the bike down the stairs [we live one floor up] and wearing cycle friendly pants and all that.
Last week we took our laundry to the laundromat which was a couple of blocks away and then a long wait for Val initially and then I took over and the drying took a lot longer than anticipated and we ended up having mostly dry clothes draped all over everything in our apartment.
Then this week we went to do food shopping which was a walk to the bus stop and a ten minute wait and a thirty minute bust trip and a shop and a wait and a bus trip and a walk home.
Life moves at a much slower pace for us in Oakland than we are used to [certainly in Kensington, but anywhere we’ve been together so far really]
And I realised that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. And I love it.
Not all the time. It can be frustrating when you want to quickly go out somewhere and you don’t have a car. Or you need one thing from the supermarket. Or you run out of shirts. When trying to organise free couches from Craigslist clashes with trying to organise van from friend to try and pick it up. And so on.
But I have really enjoyed the cycling [and want to do more].
I really enjoy the walking [in fact I got to do an amazing walk with people from the community last Friday for peace in the neighborhood which you can read about here, and will more than likely join them again this Friday]
I am loving, for the most part, the slowing down of the pace.
We can become addicted to the busyness.
To being constantly on the go. On the move. In line. In the car. On the phone.
It is a bonus when it gets thrust upon you. To slow down. To stop. [and then decide whether it is “in the name of love” or for the purpose of “collaborating and listening” or if it is just simply “Hammer-time!”] To just be able to just be.
In the Bible, we are invited to ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ [Psalm 46 verse 10]
We are told that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches and that “If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” [John 15.5]
I call this my John 3 verse 30 pic – ‘He must become greater, I must become less.’
Which is what happens if we slow down, and start to appreciate life and time and God and people. And Love.
It is a bonus when it is thrust upon you. But it is also a necessity to live well, I believe. So I encourage you and urge you to make the decision yourself. Plan a time this coming weekend to simply stop. And be. And know. And Love. And appreciate. And be filled with wonder.