Motion Sickness

10:06 AMHeather

When our family goes on a road trip, we've got the drill down.  We pack snacks and movies.  The kids all bring their own pillows.  And, because two out of three of my children get motion sickness, we are sure to bring motion bands and barf bowls.  As well as blankets for everyone.  Because the cold air must blow so full-force on their faces to help quell the motion sickness that their bodies need a blanket.

Motion sickness is no fun.  If you or someone you know suffers from it, you know this very well.  It's all good and fine as long as the car is going a short distance or more slowly.  But get out on the open highway, and it's a gamble who might get sick first.  Or, how about an amusement park ride?  Okay, fun.  But when that bad boy starts gaining some speed, it spells trouble.  

I think the truth of it is that we are ALL suffering from motion sickness.  Really.  I think the majority of Americans are feeling the effects and perhaps they don't even realize it.  Because the speed has snuck up on them, unnoticed.  Or because they've been at rapid fire speed for so long, they just fail to notice the effects of motion sickness.  

Our culture is go, go, go.  Non-stop. All the time.  There is, truth be told, a certain degree of speed required when you are juggling the schedules of a family and children and jobs and church and other obligations.  But, I think it's a bit like a frog in a kettle.  We jump in when the water is cold, and we never notice how the temperature starts to rise until we are boiled and cooked.  We grow immune and are unaware of the rapid pace at which we live and how it is making us sick.  


I read this blog by Jen Hatmaker recently about slowing down her speaking and traveling schedule.  And it so rang true within me that I wanted to give her a big ole high five.  Here she is--someone I admire and respect, who has been given a platform to speak and to write.  Yep.  I love both of those things and continually pray for opportunities to explore those bents of mine.  But, yet, she is re-itering the priority and importance of being right smack dab in the middle of your routine and home and community.  She's saying that slowing down and diagnosing your own motion sickness is important.

Because it is.  Having margins in our lives is important.  But, there are so many demands upon us that we fail to remember that it's okay to say no.  Without an explanation even.  That we don't have to be as busy as the next person.  That we don't have to run every moment of our race.  Sometimes we need to walk.  Sometimes we may even need to pause.  So, why do I feel the need to justify and rationalize why I want to slow my pace down and stop my motion sickness?

I think it's because it is counter cultural.  To choose to be the tortoise in a culture dominated by the hare.  I sat next to a lady at a dinner a couple of months ago.  Her husband is an important executive and she has many demands and opportunities thrust upon her.  And she leaned over and admitted to the lady on the other side of me, in a hushed whisper, that she really is a homebody at heart.  And she is learning to let herself off the hook from the invitations and requests and demands.

More power to you!  I wanted to yell.  And I felt a nearly audible sigh of relief.  It's okay.  It's okay to slow down the train and say you want to get off.  It's okay to leave days on your calendar open.  It's okay to have a long lazy Saturday, with no apologies for the lack of commitments.  It's okay to say no to an invitation or opportunity--without even offering an explanation.  It's okay to say you need to deal with your motion sickness.  

Because here is what happens when you slow it down.  As I walked the other day--on my journey back to running--I noticed the sun peeking through the bare tree limbs and warming my face.  And I stopped and felt the love of my Savior warming my heart. I stood there and soaked it in.  When I sit, without phone or gadget or television, my teenagers plop down and have an actual conversation.  As I am committing to making bedtime more of a ritual than a rush, I'm connecting with my daughter through the pages of a Mother/Daughter devo book. In so doing, I'm building up a defense to help her navigate the land mines of adolescence.  

When my weeks are less crowded, I can instantly reply to the text requesting prayer from a friend whose dad was dying.  And I can offer to bring her a meal.  When I have margins, I can make time for all those "someday" ideas like hosting friends for lunch or making a small dream of an idea come to fruition.  I can be available in case something comes up.  Or I can simply learn to rest in the love of my Father.  Lingering over His word with a hot cup of tea.

I'm learning.  This repeated lesson.  On this familiar road where I know God is saying slow it down.  And once again, I'm reminded why I need to be aware of my motion sickness.  Because, to be honest, I am not a nice person when I have motion sickness.  I'm irritable and short tempered and stressed.  And my kids have even articulated how it makes them feel stressed, too.  My kind husband refrains from echoing this sentiment, but I know he feels the same way.  

Motion sickness means my days are nothing but a long task list to complete before I can collapse in bed for an abbreviated night of sleep over the length my body really requires.  Motion sickness, day after day, is just getting through it all--all the demands.  It's not any way to enjoy and thrive in the rhythms of the day.  I'm dating myself, but anyone remember playing your records at the faster speed?  They sounded so funny and unfamiliar.  

Just like life.  We get so bogged down in our motion sick lives that we don't even recognize our own lives or relationships or family.  Listen, I'm loving the new American Idol judges this year.  During a recent audition, the contestant sang a very popular song as a much slower and acoustic version.  The judges were in awe of how they had never noticed how beautiful the song and lyrics actually were until it was slowed down that way.

Here's the thing.  Our lives--the pattern of our every day--are actually beautiful and meant to be enjoyed.  Just as they are.  The regular, mundane patterns and habits of every day are meant to be enjoyed.  They are fleeting and full of tiny little moments that we completely miss because of our motion sickness.  

How about we just slow it down?  Just put on the brakes and take something off your plate and slow it down.  No apologies.  No explanations.  No justifications.  

Just embracing the idea of dealing with our motions sickness.  And finding a better way.  A slower way.  Where we won't miss the moments.      

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