Don’t Worry and Take Your Time
My husband and I have been on a bit of a quest as of late. For several reasons that I won’t bore you with here, we are in search of a new church to join.
A few weekends ago, we made our first visit to an Orthodox church here in Georgia, and it was unlike anything either of us has ever experienced before in a house of worship. It was confusing and somehow disorienting at times, but we both enjoyed the newness of it all, of approaching something we thought we understood only to have it presented to us in an entirely new way.
We left our names and phone numbers for the priests, and one of them called us a few days ago just to say hello and ask us if we had any questions. He wanted to know our stories — what our respective faith backgrounds were as well as the reasons we chose his church. It was an enjoyable and thoughtful half-hour of conversation to be certain.
When I jokingly mentioned something about wanting to “read all the books” and “know all the things,” he said two words that stopped me dead in my tracks: “Hasten slowly.”
What he was telling me was that it was OK to not have everything figured out right away. I could sit with the peculiarities of their denomination for a while and take as much time as I needed to figure it — and myself — out. If you’ve read my column for any length of time, you’ll know that giving myself permission to slow down and take my time is always a struggle for me.
I looked up the phrase “hasten slowly” (“Festina lente” in Latin) online, and it turns out it has a pretty storied history. It was a particular favorite of several Roman emperors, including Augustus and Titus, as well as the Medici and the Onslow families.
In the secular sense, it means that tasks that are worth doing should be completed with a good mix of urgency and carefulness. Do it too quickly, and you won’t get the best outcomes. But dragging your feet doesn’t guarantee success, either. Sluggishness can produce just as sloppy a result as rashness.
Oftentimes, living with multiple sclerosis requires a certain amount of deliberateness. We have to be cognizant of our physical and mental limitations, but we can’t let ourselves get bogged down by it and give up on the things we enjoy, the things that give our life purpose and meaning. Our time must always be spent intentionally and with a good deal of forethought.
So, yes, “hasten slowly” is a pretty great phrase to describe the state of mind we must embrace if we want to live well with the annoying disease that moved in without our say so, and which tries to live rent-free in our heads.
I’m going to “hasten slowly” for the foreseeable future. I’m going to show myself some grace and focus on doing things well rather than just doing them quickly. I can’t help but think I’ll be happier and calmer as a result, and that friends and neighbors is a mighty good thing.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.