6. Experience

For over fifty years, an American flag has marked the corner of this Augusta, Georgia deli, Sunshine Bakery. Their signature sourdough rye bread is baked fresh daily and begins with a starter that has been active now for over thirty years.

Most customers are “regulars.” They come in mainly for a hot-pastrami or corned beef sandwich and a cup of soup but then typically leave with a loaf of fresh-baked bread or a dozen cookies. The days of the week, Monday through Friday, each mark a particular kind of fresh vegetarian soup being served; the menu of this small deli is simple and has changed very little over the years. Why bother with success?

Stability, family, community – these are the words that seem to best describe this local institution. And as one of its “regulars,” I am happy to be a small part of its history.

Too often we look for new things, don’t we? We tend to get tired of repeat experiences, not considering the significance of life’s cycles. And while I do believe that newness is important, I also think that we Americans tend to shop for it. We’re constantly looking for the keys to happiness, almost as if we are afraid of possible boredom. The stillness, the quiet moments and even a steady routine leave us feeling restless and guilty, almost as if others might be getting ahead of us in a race. But a race for what? To where?

Sometimes, I think we have it all wrong, that amidst our prosperity and haste to “go for it” we miss the slow boat of life that provides such a beautiful vantage point. We seem all too eager to “get on with it,” even when the most wonderful things are right there in front of us. Our experience should be that of meaningful times and great moments. I think that our conversations and our relationships should grow deeper and that we should spend more quiet hours enjoying each other and God’s beautiful landscapes. Oh, it’s wonderful to travel the world and to have it all, but it’s simply in vain if in the effort to have that we miss out on the more important things.

Day 6 Guide

Today I want you to think about slowing down a bit. Take your shoes off, hug your children, or handwrite a letter to someone you enjoy. As this year is coming to a close, consider ways to get your life in sync with the slow boat that provides such a beautiful vantage point. Think about building experiences and sweet moments.

© 2004, Levi Hill

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