Spirituality for Today – Summer 2018 – Volume 22, Issue 4

Stop… And Smell The Roses

Reverend Mark Connolly

In several of the scholastic journals I have recently read, the subject of leisure is often emphasized. And this subject seems to be foreign to the many husbands and wives and families that I meet constantly. Oh, yes, we all know the exceptions. But for the most part, Mr. & Mrs. John Q. Public are working harder and longer than ever. Leisure, for them, is a nice thought. But the world in which they live and the pace they keep does not allow leisure to become a reality. When you think of it, how could leisure become a reality when they have educational bills that are very high, mortgage payments that are equally high, a cost of living that is very expensive, even when both mother and father are working.

But there has to come a time in each one's lives when he has to question himself or herself about the pace of life each one is keeping. There is no question that parents with their work schedules are trying to do the best and give the best to their families. But, there has to come a time when each one reflects on the price you are paying to give your family the best. When you see so many husbands and wives as I do who are so exhausted, who are really drained by all the pressures that life has brought to them, someone has to say "time out". All of us are told "don't sweat the small stuff", take time to "smell the roses", and these pearls of wisdom are often ignored.

In one of Leo Tolstoy's short stories he tells about a tenant farmer who wanted more than anything else to have his own tract of farm land. He asked the land owner. The land owner agreed, on one condition: whatever piece of land you can make into a perfect square between sunrise and sunset will be yours. The next scene in the story shows the tenant farmer at the crack of dawn starting to run and run to form the perfect square of land. At noon time he is running and running. At three o'clock he is fatigued and running as fast as his aching legs will carry him. At four o'clock he is practically limping towards the end of the land. The sun is just about to set. At five o'clock he reaches his goal. The sun sets. And he collapses and dies of a massive heart attack. I think even though this story is over a hundred years of age, it has a definite application to each one of us.

We have to, no matter how busy our schedules might be, take time to smell the roses in our life. Whether it is a simple walk or a beautiful sunrise or sunset, we cannot go on at the pace of life which finds us missing some of the glories of God's creation.