Slow and Savour
All of us lead very fast and busy lives. Slowing down is not something we desire in our society. We eat our food quickly; we save time by driving or taking a taxi or Grab; and we talk at a fast pace. This is all because we value speed and efficiency. We think that we do not have enough time for the day, so we have to “save” time. Time is such a precious commodity that we hate to waste, but being in a haste all the time and feeling rushed does not do anyone any good.
I never knew or understood the importance of ‘slowing’ and ‘savouring’. In my younger days, I valued speed and could not tolerate doing nothing or bear with others doing things slowly. I thought slowness was associated with inefficiency or that only the elderly slowed down due to ageing. Speed seems only natural living in a fast-paced city. Speed can feel fun and exhilarating; it looks good on us when we move with speed. Yet, in order to really and fully live, I need to slow down and savour life.
I have found for myself how slowing down has improved the meaning of life as well as my relationships.
Slow: A Different Pace
I have a student whom I shall call N. When I first met her, she never failed to tell me (and other teachers) that she was having a headache or fever. However, she has the sweetest smile I have seen in any student which will brighten any teacher’s day. I am able to appreciate her smile and politeness only when I slow down significantly to her pace and know her as an individual instead of treating her as one of my many students. ‘Teaching less is more’, in this case, as by slowing down for her, I feel I am accomplishing more.
A recent lesson I taught this class of Secondary Two’s was on descriptive writing. In order to savour the lesson more, I taught them to awaken their five senses. I slowed the lesson down intentionally to explore the sensory experiences. I felt the students enjoyed the lesson.
Slowing down enables me to pay attention to my family and people I work with. I am able to have unhurried conversations and really be present and attentive, for instance when colleagues come to me to vent their frustrations or share their angst. Relationships have improved significantly when I slow down and listen more and be present. I do not interrupt nor am I in a hurry to move on to something else.
Savour: A New Sense of Life
When we savour life, our senses are awakened and we feel more connected and hence more alive. As I savour my food, eating becomes more enjoyable as the food tastes better when I appreciate what I am eating.
One of my hobbies is baking and each time I will savour the cake so as to fully enjoy what I have ‘laboured’ over. I want to taste the butter and the texture of the cake and the other ingredients such as chocolate powder or orange zest.
Walking, another hobby of mine, allows me to savour what I see around me in nature and to appreciate the beauty, creativity and generosity of God our Creator.
Savouring does not apply only to the good things. It also applies to the not so good things like hurts, pains and suffering. It involves breaking down the emotions and asking questions such as “Why am I feeling this way?” God, in his perfect timing and wisdom, will show up.
God wants us to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ (Psalm 34:8) God wants us to know Him intimately, to enjoy His presence and to really experience Him in different ways. When I savour my butter cake, it can taste slightly different each time I follow different recipes; but yet it still tastes like butter cake. The taste could vary in sweetness or the texture could be softer or firmer. In a similar way, we need to savour God and His Word by tasting it – delighting and treasuring His Word. As we do so, we will find ourselves in a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship with God.