Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Slow Me Down, Lord

By Trisha Hannon Smith

Looking at the calendar, I notice something rare and unusual - there are no events listed for today.  Not a game, not a practice, not an appointment. It is a well-needed respite from a jam-packed summer.  


I left my sons with one command before leaving for work today: You have no instructions.

Have the day you have. These days of nothingness are far too rare to not appreciate.


My mind turns to a lovely poem titled “Slow me down, Lord,” which I first heard years ago. It is credited to Wilfred Arlan Peterson, but historians name it an ancient Hittite prayer. Cardinal Richard Cushing quoted it often.


Slow me down, Lord.

Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace with the vision of eternal reach of time.


Give me, amidst the confusion of my day, the calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tension of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams.

Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.


Teach me the art of taking one-minute vacations...

Slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read a few lines from a good book.


Remind me each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise that I may know the race is not always to the swift;

that there is more to life than increasing its speed.


Let me look up into the branches of the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down Lord, and inspire me to send my roots into the soil for life's enduring values that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.


Slow me down, Lord; slow me down!


With less than a handful of weekends left before school resumes, I’m begging for time to slow down to appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. I haven’t had enough time with these beautiful young people with their boundless energy, ever-growing long limbs and awkward wonderfulness.  Watching these youngsters reaffirms what I’ve been feeling lately - the progressive marching of the clock.  Summer is ticking away.


I haven’t delved  into my list of summer reading. I haven’t cooked using fresh finds from farmer’s markets.  I haven’t dug my toes into a sandy beach.  I haven’t walked down the midway of a county fair with a sno-cone.


But summer isn’t over and there’s time.