Lento or Allegro?

How would you name the pace of life?

I’ve quickly scrawled those Italian words on flashcards and she mumbles their definitions between bites of egg and toast.


Adagio … a slow tempo.

Larghetto … a little faster than largo.

It is piano lesson day and she was supposed to have them memorized. How did a week pass without my notice?

Presto … very fast.

Prestissimo … as fast as possible.

Sometimes this life feels like it is spinning as fast as possible, out of control.

The clock is ticking and the lunches are still empty, dishes are strewn all over the counter, and the boy has gotten dressed in clothes not at all appropriate for the weather. The phone rings and their voices raise in that incessant bickering, and I feel like I want a time out. Stop the clock. Or better yet, can I turn it back?

Why am I continually racing the clock?

She’s done her breakfast now, but the words aren’t coming easily for her. My suggestion of doing them one more time is met with a groan.

Andantino … a little faster than andante.

I think about those words ranging in tempo from very slow to very fast.

I wonder at the slight difference in how a piece of music is played as the tempo increases from one term to the next.

Sometimes it feels as if life is moving so slowly and other times way too quickly.

Almost exactly a year ago today, the clock was barely moving as we waited in a tiny room of clinical chairs after she was wheeled into surgery in a fruitless effort to save her life.

Largo … as slow as possible.

Then the next morning as I try to hold her restless hands still so my Dad can sleep for a while, the clock has all but stopped.


Yet there are other times I want to push that relentless clock ahead fast.

Waiting for the test results for what seems like an eternity. Waiting for an outcome, a decision, a direction, some change in me.

But then there are times I want to slow life down.

When I look through the albums at baby pictures and I wonder how he grew to reach my shoulders in the blink of an eye.

When summer afternoons stretch into warm evenings at the farm and their voices echo across the hazy sky, I want to capture these moments forever.

The truth is life just keeps marching on, seconds, minutes and days ticking by at the same pace they always have.

Andante … moderately slow, at a walking pace.

The difference is my perspective.

In those chaotic moments of busyness, will I determine to slow so as to not miss the grace?

In those seemingly endless moments that drag on far too long, will I do the same? Be fully present in the moment so as to not miss His grace, with one eye always towards the sure and certain hope of our future.

She’s remembered all the words now and skips upstairs to brush her teeth.

As I clear away the dishes I am reminded again that we’ve all been given a finite amount of time, and only our Creator knows our number of days. Perhaps the more important consideration is if I’m being a faithful steward of the time He’s allotted to me. How can I take this day and use it in a way that impacts the kingdom?

The clock will end.

This earth will stop spinning.

And we will be ushered into a glorious existence where time will not be marked.

But for now, I chose to move through life at the pace He sets for me. No rushing. No clinging stubbornly to the past. One foot in front of the other.