Saturday, February 13, 2010

"Sit quietly, doing nothing ..."

"This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how." -Mark 4:26-27

"Sit quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself." -Zen Proverb, as quoted by Claire J. King

Yesterday morning at school I went to the student computer lab for a quiet snooze. When I got up to go back to work it was raining heavily. All the construction workers who are building the new classrooms had taken shelter, some in the outside corridor where I stood, unsure whether to make a run through the downpour. After some hesitation I decided to sit tight like everyone around me.

There is something mesmerizing about rainfall, watching it, listening to it. The drop in temperature and the cool breeze were such a welcome respite from the sweltering weather we have been having. After some fifteen or twenty minutes the rain faded to a light drizzle. The workers resumed work; I went on my way to the teachers' room.

For reasons perhaps of poverty, culture, and climate, life moves slowly here in southern Tanzania. Things take more time to get done. Some things don't get done at all. In contrast, I come from the U.S. where we are compulsively task-oriented, demanding of results, and constantly busy. We obsess about accomplishing and about using time efficiently. In the few months I have been living and working here I've learned to slow down a bit, become less impatient, and be more flexible. (I could write a piece by itself on "being flexible"!)

I am at home now. It's raining again. The land is greening much more than when we first arrived. Breakfast is digesting in my gut. The Tanzanians are going about their lives. I know not how. -Earl

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