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  • Writer's pictureJulie Fitz-Gerald


Slow down and breathe. It seems simple enough, but it's something that I admit to struggling with. In our fast-paced lives filled with e-mails and text messages, school drop-offs, swimming lessons, doctors appointments and work obligations, it becomes hard to turn the world off and just be still. When we are able to accomplish this task, the blessings in our lives suddenly stand out like twinkling stars and we can see things more clearly. Pastor Barry has talked about this in his sermons. ..the importance of being still in prayerful thought and feeling God's love. The juxtaposition of these polar opposites - our hurried world and the need to be still - has piqued my curiosity.

The other night, while enjoying a rare trip to Zehrs without my two energetic little boys, my solace was rudely snatched away by the woman in line behind me at the check-out. I tried not to take too much notice when she shoved her cart into the spot where I was standing loading the last of my shopping bags, or of the scoffing way she looked at me as if to say, "Hurry up! Can't you see I have somewhere to be?"

I took a breath, smiled and strolled out to my car. "I WILL enjoy this peace and quiet. I have no boys hanging off the cart, running ahead of me into traffic or fighting. This is MY time and I won't be rushed," I thought to myself. As I carefully placed my groceries into the trunk of my car, the same woman from a few minutes earlier came towards me, hurriedly pushing her cart and talking on her cell phone. "I'll be there in 10 minutes, I'm just at Zehrs, leaving now," she said, barely taking a breath.

As God would have it, her car was parked right beside mine, even though the parking lot was practically empty at dinner time on a Sunday night. She flung her bags into her car, gave her cart a huge push into the return area and jumped into the vehicle. As the ignition fired up, I quickly moved myself and my cart out of the way, knowing that she was about fly out of the parking spot in reverse. A few seconds later I stood there alone in a cloud of exhaust. Again, my thoughts turned to our hectic world and the effort that it takes to simply slow down. I couldn't help but laugh thinking that sometimes I AM this woman, except with two rambunctious kids trailing behind me. The thought of how ridiculous I must look at these times was comical. Slow down and breathe.

Although life is busy, it is also full of peaceful wonder and beauty. I remind myself of this often when I'm feeling like I just can't handle another thing in my day. A typical day in our household starts like this: Up at 7 a.m. Liam cranks the radio to dance while I'm making breakfast. The speakers are sure to blow this time, but somehow they manage to hang in there. Lukas is reciting his word list for school, yelling over the radio so that I can hear him. We then rush through breakfast and get dressed, before dropping the boys off at "big school" and nursery school. I head home to conduct interviews and write stories for the morning, before bringing Liam home for lunch and a nap, at which time I'll attempt to finish my work. We then head back to "big school" to collect Lukas, do some reading and homework together, and then it's time for dinner and finally bed. At this point every night I'm ready to hit the couch. This also doesn't account for swimming, skating or soccer lessons, of which we do on a rotating basis throughout the year. Slow down and breathe.

While I prayed for God to help me choose a thoughtful and inspiring topic for my first LWCC column, I also prayed for Him to make sure that I didn't miss His answer. The other morning, God answered me. Off in dreamland, I was transported to a community hall that had just been the scene of a child's birthday party. Streamers, balloons and chips were strewn across the floor. Liam slipped out the side door and I gave chase before he reached the parking lot. As I brought him back into the hall, I grabbed a big shaggy floor sweeper. Pastor Barry appeared and I hurriedly told him that I had 10 minutes to help clean the hall before I had to be at Uxpool for the boys' swimming lessons. Pastor Barry simply sat down and opened up his Bible. "He wants me to read you something first," he said calmly.

I sat down and peered over his arm at the passage in the Bible. There on the page in big bold letters appeared these words: "Slow down and breathe."

I was jolted awake by the sound of Liam yelling to his brother, "Good morning Lukas!" It was 7 a.m. I smiled, leapt out of bed and grabbed a pen and paper. God had heard my prayers and answered them. As always, I was humbled by His presence.



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