Shawn Time

August 2007

Today is my younger sister’s birthday.  She came to stay with us for a few days and just left yesterday.  We are at that age where our paths have taken us halfway across the country from one another, and both of our lives are full of family, children, community, and work.  So, we only see each other about once a year, usually in August when we both celebrate our birthday (we are less than a year apart).  Every visit is precious to me.

Shawn is a loving mother, wife, and friend.  She is beautiful (inside and out).  She has a radiant smile and an infectious laugh.  Shawn has never met a stranger; she is an engaging conversationalist who is genuinely interested in others.  She is passionate about art, music, and travel.  My sister is the most gentle soul I know.  Her melodious voice is soft and cadenced.  She is a great mimic with a terrific sense of humor.  Shawn also moves more slowly than just about any human I’ve ever met.

This last attribute is one that has taken me years to appreciate.  As someone who views multi-tasking as not only a necessity of life but practically an art form, I have always found Shawn’s pace to be vexing.  I’ve learned to compensate for this by allowing extra time for anything we do together, and letting go of any agenda I might have for the day.  But lately, I’ve gone a step further and actually fallen into “Shawn time” when I am with her.  In Shawn time, there is no hurry or rush.  Her every move is deliberate and perfectly keyed to some languid internal rhythm.  Shawn time means that dinners stretch into hours as she savors every bite.  A quick stop at the nursery involves pulling out our reading glasses in order to examine and exclaim over the tiniest blossoms and exquisite colors as we amble down the pathways.  A story detailing her family’s adoption of a stray rabbit includes rambling, animated descriptions of the bunny’s appearance, habits, and antics.  Shawn time means being fully present in the moment, and immersing yourself into each experience.  It is refreshing and relaxing and revealing.  Shawn time is not only a pace, it is a perspective.  It is a way to see the world through loving eyes and with childlike curiosity.

Shawn has taught me much about the importance of slowing down to appreciate life and the wonders it holds.  Is there someone in your world that has a different way of approaching life or work that you can learn from?  What might they have to teach you?

Sharon Keys Seal

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