It is funny how we get used to things. We have become a people of “I want it right now!” It is hard to imagine how a younger generation deals with not getting what they want or expect in blazing “Jimmy John” speed.
I recently had to have a government document. I needed it right now. The people who were requesting this information from me needed it right now. It was important in the loan process for our house. I called the government agency involved and asked what the process was to retrieve the document. The person I spoke to was great. She told me that normally I had to go through different hoops and pay some fees but knowing that would take a couple of day probably she could just mail it to me. Wait; mail it, as in snail mail? But that would take at least three days. I asked was there anyway she could scan it and email it to me. Very apologetically she said they were not allowed to do that. There was nothing I could do but wait for the document so I could scan it and email it to the loan processor. Three, maybe four days and I was fearful this would slow down the process. The document arrived, I scanned and emailed; it must have been just in time.
When I look back at my childhood and early adult life I can see this change in our expectations taking place. I know that they are supposed to be for the better and by and large I like the changes but sometimes the speed our lives can cause major stress. Here are some things to compare.
Growing up I thought it a treat to go to the “Drive In” and get a hamburger. We would pull up and wait for the carhop to come to us. Dad would order (he was usually driving) and we would sit and wait for the burgers and fries to be cooked and the cokes to be poured. Then the carhop would bring them out to the car and place the tray on the window. Dad would pay and sometimes leave a quarter tip or tell them to keep the change. We would eat and then signal by flashing the lights or a short honk of the horn for the carhop to come get the tray. Off we would then go.
Today Debbie and I pull up to the drive thru speakers, order and proceed to the window where our food is generally ready already bagged. We pay with our debit card, drive off and eat on our way to the next place we are going.
Growing up we received these mail order catalogs; Sears, J.C. Penny and Montgomery Wards. We could order anything from a pair of pants that couldn’t be bought at the local department store, to chickens. Mom or dad would write a check after filling out the order form, seal it in an envelope, stamp it and put it in the mail box for the postman to pick it up tomorrow since we rarely did this in the day. The order would get sent to the distribution warehouse where it would be filled and boxed and mailed back to us. This process could take weeks.
Today, day or night, I go to Amazon or eBay or directly to a manufacture and find what I want, place the order paying with a credit or debit card and usually pick the free three day shipping. But if I wanted to spend a little extra I could have it tomorrow. Yep, we have done that!
When I first started in the ministry and wanted to get information out to all the church members I had to design a letter or flyer, address a bunch of envelopes, stamp and mail. A two day process was expected.
Today, I needed to get an urgent prayer request out to the church and in less than ten minutes it was done.
One more illustration from an endless pool of examples. When I was growing up I can remember my grandfather waiting up late so he could see what the weather man was predicting for the next day and beyond. The news and weather came on at 10:00 pm.
Today at my desk I have a desktop computer, a laptop, an iPad and iPhone. Each of them are on at this very minute. Each of them have the power of delivering to me not only the weather but the news with just the touch of my finger. When I think I need I want it now!
I enjoy the speed in which we can get things done today. However, as mentioned earlier I believe it is this ability that has caused a lot of stress and worry in our lives. The speed in which we can get things done has artificially convinced us that we are in control and when we lose that control all heck breaks loose in our lives. How can we survive if we don’t get it done right now.? Our jobs, our families, our very psyches depend on our actions. Or do they?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! Luke 12:27-28 NIV
(Why is lunch taking so long to get here?)