I went out early today to do a couple of mundane errands — drive my mom to church and purchase a mass card since I’m there anyway, and pick up some groceries at the supermarket.
All in all, these took me less than an hour, and I was back at home in no time. But these 60 minutes got me thinking about how we’re just all hurrying along, forgetting to be human (and in the case of the parish staff I met, Christ-like) in our interactions.
It’s Palm Sunday today and I asked my mom whether the parish office is open already since I planned to buy a mass card for my friend’s dad who passed away yesterday. She said she wasn’t sure and so I just prepared to park the car near one of the entrances. I’d barely turned off the engine as she hurriedly stepped out and said she had to buy a palm first. It was probably more than 15 minutes before the mass by then and there were lots of people selling palms. Seriously, what’s the hurry?
A beggar then approached me after talking to the couple from the car parked beside mine. And after hearing the story about his mom being in a hospital (I felt he was doing a little bit of acting in his voice to be convincing) I just gave him twenty pesos so that I could be on my way. For my safety (and not to brush him off), I didn’t really look long enough into his eyes to determine if he was telling the truth and felt it was not something I wanted to pursue further.
When I stepped inside the parish office, the staff was just wrapping up her transaction with an old man. I asked for a mass card and she tartly pointed me to the form to fill out. The ballpen in the station didn’t work so I asked to use one of the two lying on the desk. She just stared so I figured it was a yes. I submitted the paper and watched her ignore me and chat with another worker as she typed out the details. It was fine, no big deal as long as I get what I came here for.
When it came time for payment, she said it was two hundred and fifty and I should give the exact amount. Oookay. I dug through my wallet and didn’t find a fifty peso bill. I knew I had one in the car. But I asked if she had one so I could just give three hundred. She sharply said no and that she had just opened up the office. Oookay again. So I looked through the coins in my wallet and decided to give her the most change of coins I could find (so she had to count them all) Yes, I may not like to cause a scene and I dislike office drama, but I can be passive-aggressive that way. She asked me to check the spelling and hurriedly handed me the envelope, glad to be rid of me. I said thank you and muttered how God is definitely NOT alive in that place. Such a shame.
I think ultimately, people like her (whether priests or lay people), who are supposed to be doing God’s work but estrange people on this level are the cause of the decline in church attendance. They are so out of touch with the practical applications of what is supposed to be Christ’s teachings that they make the church and the religion so irrelevant in these times. If God can’t be felt in what was supposed to be His office, what is the point?
Then I came to the supermarket, where everyone from the guards to the salespersons to the cashier greeted me with a smile. You could argue that it was because I was bringing in a sale to their workplace, but isn’t that the case too earlier?
So come to think of it, there was actually a lot more kindness outside the church. As the cashier thanked me for my purchase, I thanked her too and I saw in her eyes that it pleased her to hear me say that. Our interaction got cut off as the next customer told her to just put food items inside the recyclable bag she was handing her.
If she wasn’t so keen on finishing her transaction so quickly, I know that the cashier would have time to greet her a good morning though. I know, because she did so earlier and seemed to have a pleasant interaction with the people before me too.
In the next customer’s desire to just be done with it, she missed out on this.
This is the case when we just hurry life along to accomplish tasks, tick boxes, and chase that productivity metric we’re always proud to deliver.
Slow living, on the other hand, is a lifestyle that emphasizes slowing down the pace of life, simplifying daily routines, and focusing on quality over quantity.
There are many benefits to slow living, including:
Slow living allows you to take a step back from the constant hustle and bustle of modern life, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
By slowing down and paying attention to the present moment, slow living can help you cultivate mindfulness and become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. If you need a place to start, why not drink a cup of water with focus and positive intention? Or maybe take some time to appreciate the beauty of your house plants?
Slow living often involves spending more time outdoors, engaging in physical activities like hiking or yoga, radio taiso, and cooking and eating whole foods. These habits can lead to improved physical and mental health.
By prioritising quality time with our loved ones over work and other obligations, slow living can help to strengthen relationships and foster deeper connections with others.
When you slow down and give yourself time to reflect and explore, you may find that your creativity and inspiration flourish.
Reduced environmental impact
Slow living often involves more sustainable practices, such as reducing waste, buying locally sourced products, and using public transportation or walking instead of driving.
Overall, slow living can lead to a more balanced, fulfilling life that prioritises the things that truly matter. By living in the moment and taking time to enjoy life’s small pleasures, you may also no longer feel the need to do revenge bedtime procrastination.
It can actually help you become a better Christian too.