Among the many Women’s Institute papers I have sorted since the BCWI History Books were written I have found some gems of life advice from the time of their earlier printing.
Recently I found the following poem, published in a column by “Dear Abby”. Introducing it, she wrote: I recently published a prayer entitled “Slow Me Down, Lord” and asked help from my readers in identifying its author. I received letters ascribing it to Norman Vincent Peale, Cardinal Cushing, a medical missionary in Mexico, a Methodist preacher in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a Jewish Chaplain in Texas, the president of Redlands University in California and a Chicago advertising executive who is supposed to have composed it “while reflecting on the hurrying masses below his office window.”
But I believe I have found the actual author. He is Orin L. Crain, secretary-treasurer of Typographical Union No.283, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He wrote it five years ago while in Indianapolis. It was intended as a “gentle reminder” that “employees who work at a steady pace without hurrying do better work and more of it than those who need a little slowing down!”
Mr. Crain’s poem:
“Slow me down, Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind
Steady my hurried pace
With the vision of the eternal reach of time.
Amidst the confusion of my day
The calmness of the everlasting hills
Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the singing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep,
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down
to look at a flower
to chat with an old friend to make a new one
to pat a stray dog
to watch a spider build a web
to smile at a child
or to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
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 deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my greater destiny.
In his letter to Dear Abby, Mr. Crain wrote, in part: “I am well paid if it makes you happy. Keep it or share it with your friends.”
Mr. Crain wrote the poem in 1957, but, to my thinking, it applies even more to today’s pace. Do we each need to stop, read this poem and think a little about the pace we are setting for ourselves? I know it has helped me just to work with it, and I hope it helps others out there as well.
The Women’s Institute is known for it’s work ethic, and our track record shows many, many achievements. So this summer, take some time for yourself, relax and rest up. When September comes, it will be back to work – there are many things yet to be done!
Yours For Home and Country, Ruth Fenner, Provincial Historian, British Columbia Women’s Institute
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