faith, moments

the summer of slow

July 11, 2013

Yesterday afternoon I messaged Rasmus at work. He was about to go into a meeting – “I have two minutes” he said.

“Ok”, I replied, “It’s just a quick question: want to meet me for ice cream after work?”

I don’t think Rasmus ever turns down ice cream. I met him at his office and we wandered across to the newest Italian glacerie in the city centre. I chose peach sorbet and almond ice cream. Rasmus had noisette and creamy lemon. We sat on the sunny steps of a nearby church with the bells pealing overhead and ate our ice cream slowly.

“Shall we go?” he asked when all the ice cream was gone. “No. I’m so very content right here. Let’s stay a little longer.”

Later we wandered back the scenic way, through the deep green valley through the middle of the city, wandering past allotments and young couples on benches, under bridges. I stopped to examine how someone had tied their green beans to copy once I got home, paused to smell the roses, announced under one bridge that “this would be the perfect spot to kiss me”.

This is the pattern of my days recently. Slower. Savoured.

I don’t have any paid work at the moment and I am really very okay with that. I have lots of other work: two sermons in the coming month at our church to prepare, writing for my writers group, for some guest posts, newsletters to send and project days to plan for Serve the City.

And it’s not nothing. But it also leaves me lots of time for sitting in sunny parks and cafes with friends. Messaging Rasmus to meet me for ice cream. Tending my little balcony garden and fussing like an anxious mother over my radishes. Cooking all the recipes I’ve pinned the last two years. Making myself ice coffees. Reading. Writing. Writing some more. Washing the floors for the first time in about eight months.

I like this balance I’ve struck. Enough work to keep me interested and passionate. But enough time to enjoy all the little things that get pushed out. Stopping to eat lunch on the balcony instead of at my desk with one hand on the keyboard.

And I like not having this cloud of stress hanging over me. It’s very overrated, this being busy and stressed. I feel calmer, happier, more able to deal with the bigger stresses that come my way.

I’m opening my hands more. In a half shrug, half release way. I’m answering “I don’t know” to more of my own questions and letting that be okay. I’m releasing a lot of the fear of not having all the answers. Last week we spent a lovely long evening with good friends and we chatted for ages about how hard it is to understand what it all means, who God is, why there is so much shit in the world, how to believe it all. And I mostly responded with “yeah, I don’t know either”. And rather than stress me out, it felt okay. I don’t have most of the answers, but I’m content with the few answers I do have. I’ll hold them with open hands and not rush to pin everything else down.

Slow is good. Slow is very welcome right now. And I know that life is always moving, and maybe there’s another busy season on it’s way. But right now? I’m embracing this summer of slow.

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  • Oh, I love this post Fiona! I’m glad that you’re embracing that slowness and learning not only to be ok with it, but really relish it. There is so much to be seen and appreciated in the little details when we just slow down, I think. I’m trying to take a similar attitude in my currently unemployed state; trying to inhabit that ‘half shrug, half release’ 😉 (I love that last paragraph, by the way. Thank you for articulating what I’m stumbling toward too.)

    Sounds like you’re having a lovely summer!

    • fionalynne

      Thanks so much, Sadie. These things are hard to articulate sometimes, but it feels very right. I love that you’re trying to embrace this in your unemployment, when there is such a big temptation to be anxious. Sending all my positive energy your way for a restful summer while you wait for the next door to open x

  • Oh now I want to try all that ice-cream, creamy lemon? peach? Mmmmm.
    I still have to find the balance, I would like to volunteer somewhere (I got another rejection letter yesterday….) but I have to find something that really motivates me, makes my heart sing. E.g. I would love working with children, but I really have to look into it, since it tends to be very very regulated over here.
    Any how, yes to the slowness and to the small things.
    I am impressed at your home-gardening abilities. I have a tomato and a mint plant that I got as a present and they are fighting for their life, I am really clueless when it comes to plants.

    • fionalynne

      We will take you there on Saturday! (can’t wait!!) Looking forward to talking about this more in person xx

  • Oh, this is lovely. I’m so happy to hear about this wonderful place in your life. It makes me feel all content inside.I’m at a fairly similar place right now, and it’s quite divine.

  • beautiful Fiona, thank you for sharing. I have also been learning this in my life.. taking time to savour and not idolising busyness. xx

  • Nicole Joshua

    What you’ve described sounds amazing, beautiful, peaceful. I like the idea of holding things with open hands. These past few months have been so stressed, it’s almost as if I’ve been clenching my hands tightly, afraid to let go and allow things to unfold as they please, afraid to stop fighting for fear that the very things I love and am passionate about will change beyond recognition. So, thank you for writing this piece that fosters a “being present” space. May it last as long as you need it to. Love you.

  • I like your post. Your summer sounds fabulous.

    I thought I was pretty comfortable with the big “I don’t knows,” but I know now, I am going to have to get to a whole new level of being comfortable without answers to big, painful questions…. I guess maybe (hopefully) that will come with time.

  • It is a lovely post… Slow is very good… It looks like you are peaceful and that is wonderful. Take Care.