“No hurry, Mister Whitfield.”

It was such a simple statement that it could have seemed empty, politeness for the sake of politeness, a mere knee-jerk response like, “Have a nice day” when the alleged well-wisher could not give a hoot about how your day progresses.

But it was none of that. It was said in the most sincere manner. It had meaning.

It is nice to hear someone say ‘no hurry’ in this world as there is much hurry here. Just as there is in that other world from which many of us have come here to escape.

“I like your ‘long view’ of things,” I responded. “It is my way in the other world and when I have applied it in this world, things usually work out. When I have got caught up in the hurry of this world…not so much.”

The are two kinds of hurry, at least two. There is the “hurry up and enjoy yourself” kind in which a person must try to cram as many activities into a short space of time as they possibly can to ensure they have been the most productive, had the most fun, “made the most of it.” This is often applauded though it can lead to exhaustion, nervousness and other ailments. It can also cause the observer to wonder if the activities involved, the tasks accomplished were truly enjoyed and whether they were done well or merely done.

Then there is the kind of hurry in which one sets deadlines as to when important aspects of life – such as marrying, having children, “settling down” – should be accomplished. If one doesn’t do one of these things by such and such an age then they have failed or are not happy that they are “running behind.” This thinking goes that you must accomplish your list of items by a certain time in order to be able to “start” your life.

Another example of this type of hurry is speeding through the early days of a new undertaking – a new job, a new project, even a romance – to get to a certain point at which “everything will be set” so that the undertaking can then move forward at a more reasonable pace. We must get these parts out of the way quickly, so we can get to the good part. It is like speeding through the first several chapters of a book so one can then get to some point at which it is appropriate to proceed in a normal fashion, rather than like a maniac. I have at times, even recently, fallen into this trap myself.

Why do we think there is such a rush all the time? Do we ever stop to ask if we have actually benefited from rushing through our lives to get to some magic moment when we don’t have to? Does it truly get us there more quickly and, if so, does it get us there in better shape than had we devoted a more appropriate amount of time to each task? Or do we cram so much into the short space or run through the early part so quickly that we don’t have time to ask the question?

I have observed the problem of hurry in others and I have seen it first hand in myself. I believe the answer to whether it is the best way to go is no. Yet I can’t answer the question of why we do it as we do.

All I can say is, that on that day when I heard the sincere statement, “No hurry, Mister Whitfield,” I knew that it was true. I appreciated the fact that most of the time I pace myself well. But not always. We all need a reminder from time to time.

Maybe this is yours.