There’s a saying in Nepal; slowly, slowly. It’s said in all kinds of situations. When you’re waiting for someone to arrive, when you need to be careful as you move a large piece of furniture, when your expectations of this country seem to not match with the reality of daily life.
Slowly, slowly. An opening, a softening, a different sense of time.
In the West, we seem to press against time, treating it like the enemy that keeps us from getting everything done. We seem to think we are in control (I know I do), and the world will not keep turning if we don’t get through our to do list.
Nepal tends to have a fatalistic mindset. Things happen TO us and we can’t do much about it. I’m not here to give fatalism a thumbs up, but I wonder if there’s something to this slower way of being in the world. It actually reminds me that I am not in control. That it’s not all up to me. That my relationship to time can change.
Slowly, slowly. A trusting, a reliance, a leaning toward.
What if my relationship to time were one where I trust that things happen in the timing that God has ordained, instead of aggressively and assertively try to hit time over the head and submit to me? I cannot be present this way and this is not living out of a heart of trust and peace. In fact, I’m missing what’s happening all around me.
Even as I write this, I keep thinking about how unpopular this rhythm of life is and how I myself feel trained against it. I’m trained as an American to get as much done as I possibly can in a day and to feel lazy if I don’t. I’m trained to tell people how “busy” I am as a status symbol.
What values am I living from? How are my values reflected in my relationship to time?
In many ways, I have no choice but to soften to time, because here in Nepal, most of my plans don’t pan out in the way I pictured in my head that morning. Between morning and lunchtime, I’ve been thrown 5 curveballs and I’m actually still sitting in a line at the post office instead of meeting a friend across town.
What actually matters that I get accomplished in a day? Many of the things I consider necessary, don’t get done here, and I realize that I’m still alive, my son and husband are still alive, and maybe those things weren’t quite as necessary as I thought. But if I’m walking in grace, and I’m soft to time and to His voice, slowly, slowly, He might accomplish something IN me that I needed desperately.