Slow was his modus operandi.

My grandfather ate slowly. He took a bite and chewed instead of gulping down like some of us, on the run, were prone to do. He took so long to finish his meal that the rest of the family sometimes got up and left before he was done. (Doesn’t sound very polite, does it? But that’s how I remember it.) He enjoyed his food, though, and it evidently didn’t hurt him to eat that way, because he lived to age 94.

He walked slowly, too. That, in addition to gardening, was his exercise regime. Long walks, but slow. No jogging for him! I think he would have laughed at “working out at the gym.” I never saw him run.

That seems to have worked out well, too. He managed to go on his solo walks till quite late in life, and get back home safely, too, despite my grandmother’s worrying all the time he was gone. “I’m afraid he’ll fall over somewhere and no one will know,” she’d say, peering out windows, looking for his return. She didn’t go for walks. She sometimes rushed about, getting things done “on time.” He outlived her by over a decade.

He did his tasks slowly and deliberately, too. I can remember him sitting on “the back stoop” shelling beans or podding peas, while telling us kids his stories and singing us the silly songs that made us laugh. That’s why we stopped our running and shouting to sit down quietly beside him.

I think he even read slowly, stopping to ponder what he’d read. Asked us children philosophical questions, asked us what we thought—and listened to what we answered.

So much is speed-timed now. Rushed, and harried, we “meet deadlines”—a lot. I wonder if we haven’t short-circuited creativity, deeper thought, sweeter simple pleasures, and better health for all generations with our off-to-the races mentality. He lived longer than any member of our family, despite major health issues earlier in life that forced early retirement and made him and everyone else think he wouldn’t live beyond his sixties.

I wonder if “slow down and live” isn’t a very wise maxim, in more ways than one.


This post was inspired by the word prompt “Slow” over at Five Minute Friday this week. Head on over there to the link-up to read an interesting bunch of other writers’ thoughts on “Slow.”

6 thoughts on “Slow was His Way

  1. Sylvia, This is a beautiful post about the slowness of your grandfather. My aunt and uncle were like him. They ate slowly, they talked slowly, and they lived a life that just oozed joy. My uncle died, but my aunt is still living. I hope to be more intentional about slowing down. I think the anxiety and rush of getting stuff done taxes ones heart and mind and spirit. May God give us the gift of slow activities that bring him and us joy! Jenn, FMF

    1. Yes, Jenn. I so believe everything your comment says. Truly (and especially this day) “May God give us the gift of slow activities that bring him and us joy!” Then we’ll have joy to “ooze” like your dear aunt and uncle!

  2. So beautiful and such a vivid picture painted of him and his time with you. I too have a slow daughter, one that savors and takes her time. I worry I rush her too much and this reminded me to remind her that she is simply wonderful.

    1. There’s much to learn from those around us who know, even just naturally, how to slow down, isn’t there, Sabrina? God bless the “slow”! And thanks to Him for them!

  3. This stirred up so many thoughts, on many levels. First I loved the photo and the family resemblance. Next was how hard it is for me to go slow and wait for my dad as he shuffles along with his cane at 91. Then I contrasted my grandmothers –one who was quiet and deliberate and one who talked a mile a minute and hurried everywhere (one guess which one I take after). I wondered if your grandfather learned to slow down after his health problems or if he had always been that way. (there could be hope for me there) And then I thought about our heavenly Father, who doesn’t have to hurry. (although we often think he should) He tells us “Be Still.”

    1. I’m so glad this got all those thought trails going, Laurie. I don’t really know if my grandfather’s major health problems were the cause of his “slow mode,” because they happened before I was born, but I know they definitely forced a slow down, even to stop, in the major things of life. It was heartbreakingly hard for him to accept that he had to quit his ministry as a Lutheran pastor because he couldn’t get through a sermon without coughing up blood. Shortly after that his second son, a navigator for a major airlines, was killed in a crash that was suspected sabotage (WW II era). He struggled with these closed doors–as I sometimes struggle with mine. But I also know that God often allows these things to bring us to the stops we need to come to and learn from–to “slow down and *live*”!
      Glad you left this comment!

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