Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, February 4

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
—Psalm 33:20

My husband and I are avid fans of the evening News Hour with Jim Lehrer. We watch it every night, often during dinner.

One evening, essayist Anne Taylor Fleming had a remarkable piece. She spoke about how Americans go too fast, do too much, and have no patience with waiting for anything. For example, we go on crash diets and expect to lose weight fast. Perhaps it works, but then the weight comes right back.

Fleming mentioned a best-selling book called French Women Don’t Get Fat. Their secret? French women eat slowly, enjoy food and wine as pleasures, and allow themselves a cream puff now and then, or cheese omelet. “They know how to slow down, to savor life,” the essayist said.

Then she switched to talking about her beloved pet, a beautiful golden lab recently diagnosed with incurable cancer. When she heard the diagnosis, Fleming said, she vowed to be with him every step of his way.

And she was.

They took shorter walks, did not run as much. The whole pace of their lives slowed down. Finally, at the end, she lay next to him, stroking him, just being there. She stayed with him as his life slowly slipped away.

Fleming never mentioned God, but I thought that what she said would make a great sermon. I think our souls are worn out with the endless chase, the terrible pace of our lives. How much better it would be if we could “wait for the Lord,” as the psalmist puts it, savor each day for what it brings, and be more fully present to each other.

Give us grace, O Lord, to begin, today, to live more sanely. Help us to slow down, to do one thing less than we had planned. Strengthen our resolve to live as you would have us live, in tune with your universe and with each other. Amen.