Numerous and wonderful things have been given to us through the Law, the Prophets, and the other writings that followed them. For this reason, it is necessary to praise Israel for education and wisdom. It is also necessary not only for those who read them to gain understanding but also for those who love learning to be of service to strangers when they speak and write.Sirach 1:1
I realized about two months ago that I walk too fast. When I was younger I used to run everywhere. I can only imagine what people thought as I raced to buy my M&Ms candy after school to share with my Yorkshire Terrier. I remember sorting the colors before eating them one by one. The tiny dog survived the daily poison.
Wisdom comes the more you notice the daily poisons you consume. The poisons can be sweet in the moment like when you’re scanning through beautiful images on Instagram. They can be masked as “goals” or “schedules” offered as help by the experts in psychology. As individuals, things that are healthy for some are not healthy for others.
There’s a man who always jogs past our house at 3 pm and upsets our dogs. He looks incredibly drained and frail from the running. I suspect it’s an addiction. Remember I used to run to get candy. In the back of my mind I was burning calories so I could eat the M&Ms without guilt.
Yet despite our individuality, I think actual wisdom comes from truths that are just there waiting to be discovered and embraced. There are those preferences that we call “our truths” but they are nothing like the time-tested TRUTH passed down through wise people in every age.
I had just started taking a class in groundwork with horses because despite my fear I can’t stop being drawn to horses. I have a sense that I must conquer fear in my life. The instructor pointed out, after the horse started nipping at me, how quickly I wanted the horse to respond to my requests . She asked why I thought the horse was doing that.
A rush of emotion welled up from nowhere. I almost cried. “Because horses don’t like me.”
I knew this was probably not true but I also knew it was how I felt in the moment when I became frustrated. The horse was mirroring my impatience and anxiety. It was the very next day when I noticed I was walking too fast. From the barn to the chicken coop, from the hay bales to the watering troughs, I raced from one chore to the next, all the while feeling a vague sense of guilt for not spending time enjoying my mini horse and my friendly flock of sheep.
We all know those stories about people on their deathbeds wishing they had just slowed down, had placed priorities on the eternal, on relationships and so on, but why in the moment is it so difficult for some of us to walk a little slower?
It really is important to seek wisdom. You don’t even have to run to the store to get it. You probably need to walk a bit more slowly just where you are, maybe hang out with an animal or read Sirach instead of scrolling all day long. We all know this and it can be hard, but walking slower this past week has made a world of difference.