Early this year in a grocery store, Gabriel (two years old), was pushing one of those little kiddie grocery carts. He moved it carefully, staring hard at the cart and the ground… and nothing else. That meant that I was pretty much staring at him… and nothing else. “Good job, Gabriel. Now move your cart over here so this nice lady can get past you.”

And there in the middle of the grocery store, that woman gave me a gift that I have been unwrapping for months.

She smiled, looked Gabe square at the top of his bent-down head, and said, “This nice lady isn’t in a hurry.”

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
I heard the tick of the hallway clock.

And I thought of my deadlines, to-do lists, and plans.
I cursed to myself; I had only two hands!
We were so late already and moving too slow,
The car needed gas, and we needed to go.

And Sammy was taking too long at his chores.
(There’s no way I’d get to all five of those stores!)
Then Gabriel pooped, and his pants were all stained. (
Was this kid ever going to be potty trained?)

Lucy, as always, put shoes on all wrong.
And Abby obeyed – she just took way too long.
My eyes were wide open to books out of place,
The table not cleared, the snot on one face,

Toys scattered all over, the gross, filthy car,
The pine tree out front leaning forward too far.
I was feeling disgruntled, scattered, and lowly
When I heard a small Voice: “Do less; do it slowly.”

Jesus entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house… Martha was distracted with much serving… And she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary...” (from Luke 10:38-42)

This morning I sat underneath the pear tree.
The butterflies flew, and the birds sang to me.
My tall flowers told me a secret they know,
How it takes lots of time for real beauty to grow.

My worries got washed in the fresh morning dew;
My soul was restored from His mercies brand new.
I relished the air that the morning time brings;
I thought of time’s mystery for all living things.

[Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching… “Mary,” [said Jesus], “has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (from Luke 10:38-42)

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.
I’ll hear the sound of the hallway clock.

And I’ll think of my deadlines, to-do lists, and plans,
How they’re not as important as eight little hands.
And when we are late, I will savor the slow
And hear them all tell me new things that they know.

I’ll smile long at Sammy and not rush those chores,
‘Cause really – who needs to hit THAT many stores?
When Gabriel poops, I will wipe him again,
Knowing that soon he will be potty trained.

I’ll high-five sweet Lucy with shoes on all wrong;
I’ll compliment Abby, who’s good, kind, and strong.
I’ll read them those books that are all out of place;
The dishes can wait; I will look at that face.

They will play with those toys; they will sing in that car,
And that pine will give shade (though it’s leaning too far),
And I’ll see that this chaos has always been holy.
I’ll see Him here when I do less, do it slowly.

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