After two years of being married I have come to learn something very important about myself. I have never learned to linger. I do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible. My wife is the complete opposite. There is nothing in life she does quickly. No wonder she gets frustrated when I’m always standing with my hand on the doorknob, jingling the car keys, and giving her time updates when we have to go places.
The lack of lingering reaches into my devotional life as well. Too often I jingle my keys at God as I breeze through a chapter of scripture, throw up a prayer, and then run out the door to take on the world.
Recently I have tried to combat this trend in my life by partaking in the sacred art of spiritual lingering. I have as my role model one of nature’s most noble beasts: The Cow! Yes, the bovine, as he methodically and patiently chews his cud and plods slowly along in his daily routine, is a perfect role model. He is a master of lingering.
So, like my sensei, I am becoming a chewer. Not of grass and brush, but on the very Word itself. I am learning to linger over the stories. The reading is not a mad dash to the finish. It is not efficient. Instead it is slow, thoughtful, and repetitive. I chew and chew and chew again. I am learning to spend the whole day munching on the same words and phrases until they get into my blood.
Here I must confess that I am a slow learner. For 25 years now I have developed patterns of behavior that mock the cow and his cud-chewing ways. I have tried to be like the Cheetah, and now that I’m zipping along at full speed it is not easy to slow down. Thankfully, God is a lingerer. He is patient with me in my impatience. He brings people into my life who are lingerers and forces me to linger with them. So I turn my eyes to my salivating sensei and I thank him for his wisdom. Lingering will always be difficult for me, but little by little I am learning.