When I hear the word ‘Cherish,’ the first thing I think of is the pop song by The Association from 1966. The song, which was written in a half hour, reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The record label frowned on the song saying it sounded “too old and archaic,” however 50 years later original band member Jim Yester quipped that the song’s success “just showed we can have archaic and eat it, too.”
Cherish is like the words “savor,” “relish,” and even “dawdle,” “meander,” and “linger.” Words rarely used today. Probably because we seldom behave that way. We don’t take the time, we’ve got so much to do. We’re wired and moving as fast as we can. We don’t want to be slackers. The faster we move, the less we feel, which may be a primary reason we move so fast. Moving fast keeps the feelings of worry, uncertainty, and insecurity at arm’s length. As a result, we come to idolize doing as opposed to being.
An outcome of capitalism is the frantic pace of work. Although that impatience has been happening for more than two centuries, since the advent of the industrial revolution, it is accelerating. The digital revolution has us at warp speed. We desire to get more done and faster. If the internet doesn’t come up fast enough on our phone, we freak out. This routine is the enemy of depth, nuance, attention to detail, and reflection – all attributes of a lifestyle that allow us to savor and cherish, even the little things. To some degree we have a drug habit, a need of stimulation and fleeting pleasure, that must continuously be fed.
To savor is to enjoy and appreciate something completely. It necessitates taking time and slowing down. Savor a meal, book, conversation, cup of coffee, scene, gentle breeze, bird chirping, sunset or sunrise, a cloud formation – the list is endless.
Before our wedding, my wife, Vicki, and I, were fortunate to be given some sage advice to remove ourselves from the busyness of the event, go stand in a corner together, and just take it all in. We were instructed to appreciate the small details around us. We still talk about that experience 34 years later. It allowed us to fully appreciate the majesty of the event. We pass this advice on to engaged couples all the time.
Simon and Garfunkel’s 59th Street Bridge Song has the famous line, “Slow down, you move too fast. You got to make the morning last.” The 59th Street bridge connects Queens to Manhattan, a gap between the hectic pace of New York City and the neighborhoods of cobblestones and flowers. Paul Simon was coming home one morning over the bridge and in his words, it was “such a groovy day.” He had a free moment to take a deep breath, cherish his surroundings, and appreciate simple presence of the moment.
Eddie Cantor, the American comedian and performer of the early television era, said, “Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie helped create the March of Dimes and is credited with coining its name.
Slowing down is a path to depth, more enduring satisfaction, and to excellence. Stephen Covey often discussed climbing the ladder of success and learning that it was against the wrong wall. If we take the time to enjoy the view while we are climbing, we can see what wall we are scaling and, if need be, change ladders. A great example of going slow to go fast.
My Row, Row, Row Your Boat metaphor for life can apply here. The line “Gently Down the Stream” is about cherish and savor. It reminds us that we need to be gentle with life, with nature and those around us. To have reverence and respect. If we push the pace and thrash about in a rowboat, at best we only get wet and worse we can end up in the stream. Imagine the surgeon operating on us or the mechanic fixing the engine of our car racing through their procedures, also while checking email and sending texts. I would prefer they relish in their work and dawdle with every nuance.
I have mentioned before the Jesuit exercise called, The Daily Examen. It is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. Twice a day they stop and among their prayers ask themselves “Am I doing the right things to take me to a higher plane?” In other words, is their ladder leaning against the right wall?
A quote from an unknown source is, “Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” Live – Love – Cherish, that is a pretty good motto to go through life with.
The expression “No rest for the weary” is a catch phrase of the 19th and 20th centuries, It originated in the Bible (Isaiah 48:22), “There is no peace for the wicked, says the LORD.“ Over time ‘peace’ became ‘rest’ and ‘wicked’ became ‘weary.’ The expression can mean that the devil will not allow his followers to rest from their evil doings, they will be kept busy. Rest leads to reflection, reflection to peace, and peace to seeing the fullness of God’s blessings.
In Mark 4:16-17, we hear the parable of the Sower and the seeds that are sown on rocky ground. These are the ones that when they hear the Word, they receive it all at once and quickly rejoice. However, they have no root; they have not taken the time to cherish and savor the words to make them their own. When tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word, they quickly fall away.
God did not create us to get lost in the rat race of today’s world. We need to cherish the gifts we have received from God. We need to add dawdling, relishing, and savoring into our life.