The Hurry Sickness

by Darlene Austin

I glanced down at my watch with the frantic realization that I was going to be late as usual.  Seems as though this had gotten to be a habit I couldn’t control.  Excuses were running through my mind.  I guess I was trying to see which one sounded most believable.  But I knew the real truth was that I had scheduled so much to do today that five people couldn’t have done it all, and been on time.

I stepped down on the accelerator, riding the bumper of each car until I could pass.  The traffic was so bad today…Where’s everybody going?  I noticed my speed, and hoped I wouldn’t get a traffic ticket…Along with being late, that would just make my day!

I came upon this car that had a bumper sticker with big bold letters that read “I FOUND IT.”  For some reason it got my attention, and started me thinking.  I remembered I’d seen a sticker a few weeks back that said, “I LOST IT.”  I thought to myself, if I had a sticker it should read, “I WANT IT.”  I gradually slowed my car, and cruised behind the bumper that said “I FOUND IT.”  Maybe subconsciously I was thinking if I followed, it could take me to where it was at!

My time in my car used to be thinking time for me.  I know that I surely might have solved the world’s problems if only someone would have listened!  But now I had fallen into the routine of trying to solve everything myself, and worrying about each thing that I couldn’t.  I’d been living with this thrusting force of desire inside me that said, “Make things happen.”  But what we really don’t hold to account is, some things happen whether we want them to or not…How do we make space for these??

I stayed behind my little befriended car and thought.  I enjoy having time to think.  It seemed like I didn’t have that time anymore.  It was just one of the many things I had sacrificed madly chasing after a dream.

I reached over and fastened my safety belt, and settled back comfortably in the seat.  As I gazed out the window, I was resigning myself to the fact that I was going to be late.  Well, this time they were just going to either give up on me, or decide I was worth waiting for…

How many times had I driven in this area the past few years and never noticed the beautiful countryside?  I’d been heading down all the roads in life just like this interstate, not seeing anything but my desire.  The pieces of my life these past few years started  to come into focus in my mind.  I knew that I had caught a fatal disease “HURRY SICKNESS.”  Is this what happens to the embryo of a dream?  This “HURRY SICKNESS” could be the major factor in the lives of people who abort themselves before reaching the end of the rainbow.

Some of my first symptoms of the sickness were that my weeks kept getting shorter.  And there weren’t enough hours in the day…Which seemed to leave me running behind and always late.  I guess it was time to confess to myself that I didn’t even take time for my friends anymore.  And in return that cut down the amount of smiles and laughter in my life.  Since I was now analyzing myself….I though how each day I’d rush through my shower, not taking time to feel the water.  Or eat my meals without tasting the food.  It seems I didn’t have time to do things that weren’t associated with my work…Now I asked myself…What did I have time for??  The only answer I could come up with was deadlines and schedules.

I tried to console myself with the fact that I wasn’t the only one with this “Hurry Sickness.”  Once you know you have it, the symptoms are easy to recognize in others.  I wondered, is there a way to slow down and still not lose sight of your dreams and desires?  This answer was worth taking time to search my soul for.

As I rode along I started feeling guilty about how I’d neglected my life lately.  My music had never felt like work to me…It had always been fun.  And though my love was no less, how did I manage to turn it into a job??  I’d been told many times by people in my business that it takes determination, and you have to be willing to sacrifice to get to the top.  Without a doubt, I knew I had done both…just to realize there are more factors involved.  I’d seen friends and talented people turn to drugs and alcohol for relief of the stress.  And I too was filled with an obsession I was willing to die for…or was I???  This sickness doesn’t limit its fatal destiny to just those in the music business.  The symptoms show up in almost anyone who has that strong competitive drive….or tries to keep up with the Jones’s.  My desire to be heard as a singer and writer had taken over the pulse in my body.  And all the things combined that had taken years to make me what I am had been pushed aside with the thrust.  How many times had I ignored the sound of my heart crying out.  “I’m just one, I can’t beat for five people.”?  I knew then that this was something that no doctor or pill could cure…The healing had to come from within.  But it was something I could spend more time talking to the Lord about.

Each mile that I drove along I felt like I was gaining an inner-knowledge.  A wisdom about myself and my dreams.  I couldn’t stop wanting what I’d worked my whole life for.  But I had to learn to find the middle ground between my desire and living…to slow my clock back down.  It’s not easy when you want something so bad, to make yourself a promise to try harder not to try so hard.

Suddenly I wanted to be out fishing with my Dad…Or taking a walk with Mom in the Kansas sunshine.  So I satisfied myself for the moment with a promise that I would take more time to do these things.

I noticed that during my self-analysis I had lost sight of the car with the “I Found It” sticker on the bumper.  I smiled to myself and thought.  “That’s OK, I got the message.”  I daydreamed and looked out the window.  I knew how wonderful it felt to be alive.  How beautiful the countryside.  How could I have forgotten about all this?  Did I have amnesia too??

When I reached my intended destination, the expectant person was still waiting.  As I walked in I quickly stated that I was sorry for being late.  I asked if he’d seen what a beautiful day it was outside?  He looked up from a pile of papers and tapes strung across his desk and grunted, “I haven’t even had time to notice.”  My feelings of being sorry for my tardiness quickly turned into feelings of being sorry for him.  And I quietly made myself another promise that I’d give myself more time and space.

Well, time has passed, and I’m still on the cure.  It hasn’t been easy.  But I’m learning to stop and smell the roses again.  I have no idea how the book of my life will end…But no longer will I rush through the chapters inside.  And now when I drive along the interstate, I don’t treat each car like it was an obstacle between me and my desire.  I cruise behind, and sometimes I even read the bumper stickers.  Lord knows the knowledge I gained from  just that one.

Yes, the music still flows through my veins.  But I’m learning to control the rhythm, instead of it controlling me.  And no, I don’t “want it” any less…And I have not lost track of my desire…I Found It!

This is dedicated to my dear friends who believe in me…Of which there are some who also have the symptoms.