So my buddy, Dave Burchett texts me a few days ago:
Dave: “Hey Reg, how about you write an excellent endorsement for my new book, Waking Up Slowly?” Or words to that effect. It was a setup.
Me (not knowing what the book is about): “Yo, Dave—love to, bud, but man, I’m just so (you know what’s coming)—BUSY!”
So, after letting him know what a sacrifice it would be for me to SPEND TIME reading and then blurbing his book, and how he would owe me big time, he sends me the book and I start power-reading (ie., turn on the fan and let the pages fly).
Then, some of the words catch my eye and I slow down. Because that’s what Waking Up Slowly is about: slowing down, being fully present in any given moment, cultivating your friendships. Unplugging. And yes, there are dogs. Dave’s dogs: wunderhounds! I turned off the fan.
I could hear Dave chortling in the background because he knew I’d be totally busted when I caught the drift of his book, which is really a few gulps of cold water on a Dallas day in August masquerading as something to read.
I’ll extend the drinking analogy in a minute. First, I want to encourage those of you who may have encountered this “slow down, you move too fast, got to make the morning last” mantra (thanks S&G for Feelin’ Groovy) in other times and places: this one is different. Waking Up Slowly is better. Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (for which she won the 1975 Pulitzer for General Non-fiction, by the way) comes close, but there’s only one chapter devoted to slowing down. I don’t know—maybe she was feeling a bit rushed.
A more contemporary, antiseptic version can be found in Sherry Turkle’s, Reclaiming Conversation: the Power of Talk in a Digital Age; however, Ms. Turkle is an MIT Professor, and an excellent clinical writer, but she’s no Dave Burchett when it comes to life-on-life, and being able to express her research in a way that will satisfy your thirst.
Which brings me back to my water analogy.
Waking Up Slowly is like that old dented, 5-gallon water tin Mr. Robins used to bring to Little League practice in the middle of summer. You’d wear yourself out for a couple of hours, playing on a rocky, dusty infield, getting dinged by bad hops and swallowing a cubic yard of dust—and you’d be eyeing that water tin the whole time. But you had to wait ‘til after practice to get a drink. Then, oh, the taste of that water!
Sometimes our Christian life is like practice on a dusty backlot on a blistering summer afternoon. You love the game, but it can leave you parched. Dave’s book is waiting for you over there behind the backstop. And you don’t have to wait until practice is over to take a drink!
BTW, you’ll have to read the book to get the “Phubberite” allusion in the Blog Title.