It’s been almost two months since March 16, the day our Senior Vice President of HR sent out the company-wide Work From Home If You Can email. She resigned later that day, which, while completely unrelated to the pandemic, certainly added drama and made the day even more memorable.
The next day, Tuesday, was the last time I played racquetball. The YMCA had already closed, so a friend and I played in an outdoor park with cement floors and walls. While lunging for a ball, the screen of my Apple Watch shattered into what is almost certainly irreparable damage. On the way home, my car’s engine light came on. All of this felt as if my sixth-grade copy of Walk Two Moons was jumping out of an old box and reminding me, “The trees and wind have changed from saying ‘rush, rush,’ to ‘slow down, slow down.’” Over the next two months, I wouldn’t need my Apple Watch or my car.
It has been, fortunately, an uneventful time as I have settled into the working from home routine like many others. Week after week, as the realities of COVID-19 set in, I brought more items upstairs to my home office like I was stocking up for a neighborhood snowball fight. I grabbed snacks, hand sanitizer, tissues, chargers, our electric kettle. My team began to hold meetings where we would just “check in” and see how everyone was doing, which I found to be comforting. One thing I’ve noticed about my team, a group of compensation and benefits specialists, is how slowly they talk during meetings. Whether we are just checking in or discussing a pay strategy, teammates speak deliberately, each word carefully measured, nothing wasted. For me, a highly extroverted verbal processor, this has been fascinating to observe and learn from.
Outside of work, I’ve enjoyed riding my bike from time to time. I typically ride down the nearby Greenway, a ten-mile bike path that runs parallel to the River Des Peres, home to extra muddy runoff from the Mississippi River (it is as beautiful as it sounds). Often I’ll pop in an audiobook while I ride. Most recently it was John Mark Comer’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. Comer is a pastor in Portland who rides his bike to work and probably roasts his own coffee beans. The thesis of the book is that eliminating hurry is the key to a healthy spiritual life. Comer begins one chapter by stating, “If there’s anything you pick up from reading the four gospels, it’s that Jesus was rarely in a hurry.”
It was the perfect book to listen to during casual rides where I’m not checking my time or trying to break records as if I’m gearing up for the next Tour De France. As the words of this book hit my ears, I could immediately practice the life-giving lessons Comer offers. I could forget about my ambition to be great in every aspect of life. The book reminded me, powerfully, that following Jesus is fundamentally a way of life, not a belief system. And the way of Jesus is without a doubt slow and unhurried, an easy yoke. So today I’m thankful for a slow, work-from-home pace and easy bike rides. And I don’t miss my Apple Watch all that much.
Matt Cambridge (’12) is a new dad to Chloe, husband to the beautiful Kendahl, and a human resources professional at Boeing. He lives in St. Louis and enjoys eating Hershey’s kisses, riding roller coasters, and watching the latest stand-up specials on Netflix. You can read more of his work at laughcrythink.com.