Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out.
You got so much to do and
only so many hours in a day.
-Vienna, Billy Joel
Vienna might be one of my favorite songs of all time. My parents were huge Billy Joel fans, so I grew up hearing his "greatest hits" in the car a lot. I know all the words to Piano Man by heart.
I'll always remember the first time I heard Vienna though. A quartet of girls who were a few years ahead of me in high school sang it at a concert, and I remember thinking that it was pretty, catchy, and one of those songs I wanted to hear over and over again. I downloaded it that night. It's got that jazzy piano rock sound to it that's soothing and relaxed and just easy to listen to.
But more than that, the lyrics are just good. They resound within the space in life where so many teens and twenty-somethings reside; the place where I find myself over and over again. Rushing and yearning and striving beyond belief to accomplish something, to be something.
I recently read an article about my generation, "Gen Y" as they call it. According to researchers and journalists, we're a set who is used to questioning authority and who are wistful and transient. We want a balance between work and family and are happy to change careers faster than we can change socks. Mostly because we're a generation emerging from college with degrees we often can't find jobs to use.
We all have our dreams and our desires. Our lives are like a road map, with a big "X" for what we'd like to be our destination and a carefully planned route marked out taking us there. But oftentimes we run into unexpected road blocks and speed bumps.
We fail a test. We don't get into the school we wanted. We don't get the job. A relationship falls apart.
I spent the past two years working towards a Masters in Education. And in May, I walked across the stage and out into the summer, eager to find that teaching job I had been preparing for. Applications were completed, follow-up emails were sent, cold visits were made. And summer went, without even an interview to show for it. Road block. Speed bump.
Slow down, you're doing fine.
You can't be everything you want to be
before your time.
Speed bumps hurt. Especially when you hit them going 60mph. That thud that shakes you from your course and makes you hit the brakes is never really welcome, but it shows up anyway, and maybe even causes you to detour a little.
Those lyrics haunt me. The entire song envelopes the concept that slowing down is okay. In a world that preaches the opposite, it can be hard to imagine how not being able to use something you spent years working on is okay.
There is a verse written on the board that hangs over my mom's desk. It's Psalm 138:8, and it reads "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands."
Even when it seems like everything is wrong; even when it feels like we're terribly off course, God is still at work. He is still perfecting that which concerns us. What a privilege and honor to worship a creator who is that intimately vested in our lives that He cares to perfect that which concerns us! Who am I that the small details of my life are concerns of a maker who crafted the heavens in merely days?
And so with that knowledge, I leave you with a challenge...slow down. As the world begins to rush around you with the start of the school year and the oncoming fall, take a breath and put on the brakes. When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?