This is a story that goes back to my days working at Disneyland. I was in outdoor vending which means that I sold popcorn, ice cream and balloons on most days and during the hot summer months our department added one little cart near Small World that sold lemonade. The lemonade was sold in small cartons and kept in a large cooler next to an ice cream wagon that looked like a train. On hot days, lemonade sold fast. My only celebrity encounter was while selling lemonade there – when I saw Gavin McLeod who played Colonel Blake on the TV show, Mash. I loved that show.
It was July 4th. 75,000 people were in the park that day and it was over 100º out there. I had one job that day – to make sure the lemonade wagon was stocked and the lemonade worker had some breaks.
Now there was a refrigerator in the break area that held about 10 crates of these lemonades. The cart itself with ice held about 5. There was another refrigerator at one of the restaurants in Tomorrowland. The idea was to keep the nearby fridge stocked and the cart full at all times. The problem was that these things sold like crazy. I had a pickup truck and I would drive around the back of small world into tomorrowland and run upstairs to the back of the restaurant, load up the truck with about 20 crates and drive back. By the time I did one of these runs, the lemonade cart was completely empty and the close fridge was empty.
I did this for nearly 9 hours, moving as fast as I possibly could. No breaks for me except to change my dirty uniform. I was working my tail off and I loved it. But every time I went and filled up the truck and came back, it was the same thing. Completely empty cart. Completely empty fridge.
The pickup truck had been modified so that it could only go so fast. Maybe like 15 mph. It didn’t matter what kind of a hurry I was in. It didn’t matter how hard I smashed on the gas pedal or how hard I gripped the steering wheel. I was working so hard and had no breaks, but I learned to use these truck rides as a break since stressing out didn’t make me go any faster. I just learned to rest in these moments.
Jen and I have been reading the book Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. In it, he writes about the conversations he was able to have with his mentor, Dallas Willard. Ortberg recalls a conversation he had with this brilliant saint early on as a busy pastor in Chicago. He asked Willard what he needed to do to stay spiritually healthy. There was a long pause and then finally he said slowly, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” Ortberg says he quickly wrote that down and said, “What else?” “There is nothing else,” came the reply, “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”
I thought about that this morning a bit as I was at a coffee place waiting for an appointment to show. I brought a book to read but decided to check email first. Then I opened the book and thought about the many things I could be doing and this thought came to my mind, “Why are you hurrying? Read the book. Rest. Be still. Cease striving. Chillax.” Ruthlessly eliminate hurry for it is the enemy of spiritual growth.