Pacing and changing gears

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

THIS is an art and skill that we have to learn, especially these days. With all the developments around and the many challenges and tasks they involve, we have to know when to move fast and when to go slow, if only to keep ourselves on track toward our proper goal with the minimum of distractions and delays, and to make good use of our time, so limited and so precious as it is.

We have to know how to give the proper pacing to the different situations and conditions of our life, quick to change gears, in a manner of speaking, depending on the concrete circumstances at hand.

Yes, we have to move fast with respect to what is routinary in our life, since they are more of a mechanical or manual task, Of course, it is presumed that this kind of work has already been planned out, part of an overall scheme that is carried out to pursue a concrete goal.

The routinary tasks should not just be a filler or a killer of time. They should have a clear direction and purpose and be given a clear time limit. Far from desensitizing us and lulling us to boredom, they should give us the sensation of excitement and thrill, since they are supposed to be done with a clear goal in mind.

And we also have to learn how to move slow when things need to be studied more or to be planned out. Most especially, we have to go slow and even willing to ‘waste’ time when it comes to praying, to dealing with family and friends, or when we meet difficulties and unexpected things in life and find ways of solving problems.

We have to remember that there are always things in life that need a lot of patience and waiting from us. Certain things need time to develop, flower and bear fruit, even as we conscientiously do the relevant tasks day in and day out. We should learn how not to be too tense and nervous as time passes by.

There will be surprises that may require some drastic changes in our plans. We may have to do some stopping for a while, some changing of course, some deviations, etc. In a manner of speaking, we have to do some repairs, some making up, and all these would require time. We should be ready for these eventualities.

But just as well, we need to know when to retake the course of things when it is the time to do so, without so much delay and hesitation. We have to have a good sense of continuity and coherence despite the stoppages and changing circumstances that can occur along the way. We have to learn how to make good use of any situation, good or bad. The art of synergy should also be learned.

All of these considerations would require that we really should have the habit of making plans and schedules and of referring them to our ultimate goal, which is to give glory to God and all that are involved in that goal—knowing how to love, how to serve others, developing virtues, strengthening our spiritual life, doing apostolate, etc. God is the North Star that guides us in the twists and turns of our life.

In any event, we should try our best to maintain our spiritual and supernatural outlook, that is nourished by the divine gifts of faith, hope, and charity. Of course, this ideal would require nothing less than the full cooperation of our intelligence and will, and the full complement of our bodily and human powers.

Yes, we have great need for prayer, for a direct contact with God which is always possible since God is always with us. Thus, before anything else, we should see to it that our prayer life is functional, always shedding light and producing impulses for action.