Meaning takes time

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This week I listened to a fascinating podcast by Krista Tippett interviewing Maria Popova, the wonderful author of Brain Pickings.

She said this…

“…The reason we’re so increasingly intolerant of long articles and why we skim them, why we skip forward even in a short video that reduces a 300-page book into a three-minute animation — even in that we skip forward — is that we’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it.

The true material of knowledge is meaning. The meaningful is the opposite of the trivial, and the only thing that we should have gleaned by skimming and skipping forward is really trivia. The only way to glean knowledge is contemplation, and the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s just time. There is no shortcut for the conquest of meaning. And ultimately, it is meaning that we seek to give to our lives.”

Lately I’ve been noticing my own tendency to skim. I do it to save time, so I can read more. It seems efficient. But it’s not. It mostly leaves me feeling like I’ve wasted time. It’s like kinda-listening to someone. I kinda-get the gist, but not the meaning.

So I’ve started to be intentional about taking time. I have so much I want to read, so much vying for my attention, and tasks waiting to be done – was that the washing machine beeping?

But I bring myself to THIS text, in front of me, that I have chosen. I read it – word by word, line by line, as the author penned it. My mind attentive, my heart open – the opportunity to learn something new is maybe … just a sentence away.

It’s easy to think we can read it all (know it all) but Maria is right, there is no shortcut for the conquest of meaning – it takes time.

2 thoughts on “Meaning takes time

  1. So true!
    So often we can be asking God for an answer or direction but that answer may be skipped because of our impatience. Even if the article or blog post turns out not to be what we are seeking for at the present there is the opportunity to learn something new, or hear a view expressed in a different way.
    It’s concerning to us as Christians if we bring this same attitude to our Bible reading.


  2. You are so right. I had an experience of that this weekend. I read a passage in a devotional type text and the scripture made no sense to me. So I sat with it, prayed about it and then received the most amazing revelation and understanding of it’s meaning. It took a bit of time – but it was so worth it. Thank you for reading this and for your comments x


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