Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Did I Really Go?

There is a large wall map of the world hanging in a colleagues room at school. When I visit I can't help but stop for a moment and look at the map. I then inevitably ask, "Was I really there"?

Work has been incredibly fast paced. My whole life has been, in fact. I am devoting much of my time to work, with some leftover for home. Consider my morning: I sprint to work on my bike, boil water in a hot pot for coffee and oatmeal when I arrive, change as quickly as I can, rush to the bathroom to groom, come back and eat quickly, and then prepare for the day. I type as fast as I can, talk as fast as I can, and make photocopies at the speed of sound. I am using one minute prayer series, and sometimes cut it down a minute. But, sometimes, there are these moments.

Like the time that I was biking behind a school bus and was doused with deisel fumes, or watching the sun rise with a few clouds scattered in. Then there are just moments when I stop, and think, "I was I really there"?

I push away the pain connected with missing so many of the people I met. I wonder what they are doing and how they are doing, and if they are thinking of me. I conclude that they must be, because I/we was such a high interest item for them. Before you go off the deep end thinking I sound arrogant, consider the following. Life in Ethiopia is very communal and very slow (especially when compared with America). Nobody is really concerned with time, or that much structure. Relationships are what matter. I wonder often if they are waiting for a letter from me.

I feel horrible that I have three letters sitting on the shelf, ready to be mailed. I want to take them to the post office, but find time slips away with work. Maybe this Saturday.

Ironically, one of my substitute teachers was from Ethiopia. I recognized his accent immediatly at impressed him with a "Dena neh".

Out of all the films I made I keep coming back to this one. I think you'll understand why.


Douglas said...

Thanks Mike, interesting blog. I love the portrait photos of your students, you clearly established some strong bonds. Did you really go? Your comments go to the heart of individualism seemingly so peculiar to modern culture. CSLewis writes in "The Great Divorce" how hell is a place where people live infinitely apart from each other. In many ways does he not describe what our culture has become? I'm amazed at how fast the evangelical church is growing in Ethiopia, without deafening contemporary rock bands, at that. A testimony to the truth, not music driven emotions and feelings.

Asher, Insurance Guru said...

So, my question is this: You've mentioned the drastic difference between the Ethiopian pace of life and their focus on relationships with our hectic American schedules rushing here, there, and everwhere.

Didn't you love that slower pace of life? Didn't you say to yourself, "When I get back home, I'm going to live a little more like this?" ... And the, BAM!, you are home and off and running.

How to fight the rush rush rush American way of life?