These days, I struggle with time. Perhaps it’s “Africa Time,” that isn’t easily shaken. Time is governed by relationships, not by a schedule. Today I noticed something more. By simply being in California, I feel like I am five minutes away from anything. We are in the same time zone, and Orange County isn’t as large as oceans away, so clearly it shouldn’t take more than five minutes to get anywhere. Having lived half my college experience on the 91 freeway, you would think I knew better.
Regardless, it has happened again and again. Late by at least 15-minutes. And now with school back in session, University traffic clogs up freeways and side-streets alike. I’m sure you find yourself in the same traffic, but hopefully having planned a bit better on the timing to your final destination.
We’ve been in California for the last several weeks, spending sweet time camping, hiking, cooking, eating, laughing, walking, and driving more than ever before. And now, traffic is the reminder that people are back to normal. A dear friend is starting school as a professor at two Christian Universities. Another is starting her MSW program while raising two beautiful girls. We are mourning along with others, lives that have passed on in the last few weeks. New school years, new friends, new projects, and a return to their “normal”, whatever it may look like.
People have asked if it is hard, going back and forth, staying in other people’s homes, traveling for months. It was this way just after we got married – our first three months of marriage were in other people’s homes! Sure, it may not be the typical experience, but it is ours, and we are thankful.
Right now, our full time job is support-raising. Inviting people to partner with us as we move to Malawi.
Both of these things reverberate daily what I long to hear as an echo forever –
All is gift – All is grace
Every day, we drive up to a home that many someones have let us stay in at no cost. We eat meals together, and share laughter and tears at the joys and heartaches of their lives. And for these few moments, days, or weeks that we are able to share together, we cherish closeness of proximity. Nudging against the schedule, we feel it.
There is more than living out these chronological days.
It is easy to feel a part of lives that are five minutes away. It’s these moments and conversations that build on previous foundations of friendships, and invite new ones to form. And somehow, they are sweet, knowing that time is limited.
Our shared space is not often this near.
Pulling into a prime parking spot, the dashboard reminds me that I am ten minutes past my expected arrival time. But how wonderful to be able to drive ten minutes away and hug a friend or family member. Twenty minutes. An hour.
Despite the traffic, in comparison, it’s only five minutes away.