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Earlier this year, Qantas announced that passengers will soon be able to fly from Heathrow to Sydney in a direct, twenty-hour flight. ‘It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance,’ proclaimed the CEO.
Of course, the far side of the world is not any closer, really – but we’ll get there faster! And in the story that Qantas’ CEO wants to tell, that’s a victory. Distance is an oppressive tyrant, forcibly extracting our precious time and effort from us when all we want is to be on our summer holidays already. But now, we have been liberated from life’s slow lane! It’s time to ‘dream bigger, fly further, and create a brighter future together’ (in Australia, presumably).
This appears to be good news for anyone like me. I prefer to cycle instead of walk, since speed walking isn’t as socially acceptable as it should be. And driving gets me places even quicker if it comes to it, which it often does. A direct flight to Sydney? Check me in.
Sometimes though, I find myself thinking about where I need to be next more than where I am now. I tend to be less than fully present with the people and tasks in front of me. It seems like the faster I’ve learned to go and the more I’ve been able to cram in, the more I’ve felt the need to do and the faster I’ve wanted to cram it.
There’s a tyranny at work here, for sure. But it’s not the one Qantas claim to have overthrown. I know this because despite doing my best to ruthlessly eliminate it, I find myself under its coercive power. Its name is Hurry.
And then, I think about Jesus’ ability to entirely opt out of hurry. Walking was his preferred method of travel, allowing him to notice more of the world and how it spoke of God. He invited his followers to take his yoke and go at his pace.
If we learn his ways, we can not only call out the stories that airline CEOs tell. We can quietly, but defiantly, push back. By lingering a little longer with friends. By talking rather than emailing. By choosing the checkout staffed by a person rather than a machine. With acts like these, Jesus’ followers form a resistance movement against the tyranny of hurry, and tell a better story while they do it.
A brighter future might really await.
Head of Innovation, LICC