Young Man In A Hurry

This morning, as I sat in my car with the rain pouring down, about to leave from work, I first decided to call my maternal grandmother, who had turned 84 yesterday. In chatting with her, I was able to hear her tell about her birthday dinner with most of our family back in Central Florida, and I filled her in very briefly about what I was doing and what was coming up and gave her my phone number in case she wanted to talk to me, as we usually only talk around her birthday. As the lone surviving grandparent of mine, I was struck in that talking to her reminded me of my own pessimism about long life in light of the general course of my family’s health, especially in my parents’ generation of both families. After all, one of the seminars I signed up for the Northwest Weekend involved end-of-life planning. Given that neither my father nor any of his siblings survived their fifties, one can never start end-of-life planning too soon. There is no time to waste.

In 1992, the band Alabama released my favorite song of theirs as a single, the upbeat and peppy “I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why).” In a rather appropriate way, the band reflected on the fast pace of modern life with a rapid-fire single that covered its verses and chorus in under three minutes, becoming a #1 country hit and a mainstream top 40 hit. The narrator comments on his fast car and his fast life, and the video for the song shows the band rocking out while a group of rather unusual people runs around a country gas station, lost and in a rush. In life, many people are rushed and have no idea why. Some of us manage to pull against the pressure that we are under, to live lives of restraint even with our intense drive to succeed in our ambitions and dreams despite our knowledge that our time is limited and our opportunities few. Many more people go with the flow and do not examine why they are under such pressure, or what they should do about it.

In the early 1900’s, people like Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge were considered “young men in a hurry [1],” as they were driven and ambitious and intelligent. Unfortunately, Henry Cabot Lodge, who is criticized for being opportunistic, selfish, jealous, condescending, and untrustworthy [2], was a young man in a hurry who did not reach the height of his ambitions. As a longtime Republican Senator from Massachusetts and Ph.D in history from Harvard, Lodge is most famous for his role in marshaling the votes that prevented the Treaty of Versailles from passing through Congress. Although it was a good deed, being the first functional Senate Majority Leader and a noted parliamentarian with a clever mind was not quite the position and honor that he had in mind for himself. It seems odd that he was considered as a young man in a hurry as he was born in 1850 and was already middle-aged by the time he reached his highest offices, but in an age where those were in their fifties were just starting the peak of their political prowess, and just starting to appear presidential, he could not build a political coalition in his favor to support presidential ambitions, and ended up dying shortly after having a stroke a few days after the 1924 election.

It is often unwise to be a young man in a hurry. All too often in life, what we want most requires the cooperation and active support of other people, who demand to be treated as people and not merely as props for one’s support. Relationships with others take time, a good degree of skill in communicating, in listening, and in being understanding of others. All too often being in a hurry causes us to alienate those that should be our strongest supporters, because we have alienated others instead of building them up and encouraging them. Although I am no longer particularly young, I can understand very well the sort of pressures that lead one to be in a hurry, but I do my best to resist them, knowing that while it is good to think quickly and have a ready wit that it is also wise to act warily and cautiously, knowing that the decisions one makes can reverberate for generations, and that what is worth having is worth waiting for, and is worth allowing it to wait for you. Let us hope that there is something worth waiting for, despite all the pressures and stresses of life, on this side of eternity, to provide a bit of hope in the joy that lasts for all time.

[1] See, for example:

[2] George E. Mowry, “Politicking in Acid,” The Saturday Review October 3, 1953, p. 30

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Young Man In A Hurry

  1. Pingback: Audiobook Review: The Rise Of Theodore Roosevelt | Edge Induced Cohesion

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