EIGHT WORDS WERE BRASHLY SMEARED across the dashboard of the speedboat tied up at Gulf Shores, Alabama. They reflected the flash and flair of its owner whose fast life was often publicized in sporting news across America. In the off-season, the left-handed speedster in the Gulf of Mexico resembled a shiftless, beachcombing drifter with his stubble beard, disheveled hair, and darting eyes rather than one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in Oakland Raider history. If his profession didn’t fit his looks, his nickname certainly did. Snake. As swift and sneaky in a swamp as he was on the field, Ken Stabler knew one speed . . . full tilt.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised to read the saucy sign on his dashboard that warned all passengers:
Get in, sit down, shut up, hang on.
If you planned to ride with Snake Stabler, you had to be ready for one sustained roar. Once you committed yourself to such an accelerated velocity, nothing short of survival mattered.
Yet we all know life is so much more than mere survival.
My oldest son and I were lingering in a local gift shop many years ago. Our eyes fell upon a row of large posters that were framed and stacked together. We laughed at some nutty ones, we studied some serious ones . . . but one stood alone as our favorite. When Curt found it, he said nothing at first, then moments later he leaned over and whispered, “Wow, Dad, that’s good!” It was a picture of a misty morning on a calm lake. In a little skiff were a father and his son looking at two corks floating at the ends of their fishing lines. Two wistful words beneath the border appropriately released the message: “Take time.”
As I pondered the impact of that moment I thought of the psalmist’s words in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God!”
Let that sink in. Let’s leave the noise and speed to the Snake. I’ll trade all that for silence and solitude anyway.