Looking ahead to three months of intense ministry in Uganda has me thinking about the rhythm and required manner in which I’ll navigate those months. And I realize that the manner is the same one as I am on these three weeks of travel and holiday with my folks – Take each day as it comes. Enter fully into what today is about. Don’t live in yesterday, don’t live in tomorrow. Rather, settle into the here and now, engage it, relish it, be intentional within it; savour it.
There are, after all, many ways to be about life. Some live willy-nilly, some live very calculated. Either one has its pluses and minuses.
In my recent weeks I’ve come across some great wisdoms.
“Take a summer to hike and walk a wilderness. Life will not lose anything in this, in fact, it will be expanded.”
“As I live small (in regards to possessions and stuff to care for) my world becomes larger.”
“In my big house I was small as I cared for my many things, in my tiny house I can live large.”
I enjoy watching documentaries and in each person’s experience are found these common sense (although not so common) perspectives on life. Each one of these quotes (paraphrased by me) hold the keys to a way of living that embraces each day through simplicity and intentional slowing down.
Near the end of my first trip to Uganda the gentleman who had been hosting me took me to the source of the Nile river. We paid our admission, meandered through the tourist stalls full of authentic Ugandan ware, stood on the river bank, walked through the gardens, and after some time of this it occurred to me that I still did not understand, could not see, this ‘source of the river’. What really was the source and where did the river come from?
I mentioned this to my companions and they replied that one could get on a boat and travel upriver a bit to see the actual source. I immediately asserted that I wanted to do this, and that I would pay the cost for us all to do this. They hesitated.
It seemed an enormous sum of money after all, to what they were used to, but as we considered whether we would do this or not I spoke, “I’ve come all this way to nearly the other side of the world, it would be a shame if I didn’t go the last little bit to see the actual source.”
They assented. Yes, indeed that would be a waste. And so we all got on a boat and with our guide at hand proceeded up river to the actual point of the Nile’s source.
What struck me, was how nearly I had missed doing this. If we had not taken the time to walk through the gardens, my mind might have never registered that there might be more to see. If I had not asserted my perspective we might have all just driven off that day, so near yet so far, from really seeing what we had in fact come to see. And if I had not had the presence of heart to know that the money I would spend would be so worth it (about $25CAD for all of us), I might have gone after frugality and false righteousness and pride of pinching my pennies (it’s own idolatry).
Ever since, I am trying to live life intentionally and thoughtfully, “What might I regret not doing from my time here?” Is something I often ask. Who do I want to see? What conversations do I want to have? How might I spend this portion of my day?
I’m soaking up life more than ever before. Not sure why it took me this long to do so, but as a result, life is becoming simpler (even in the midst of more responsibility), and it is becoming slower (even as projects flow one after another), and my heart is at ease and I am more glad.
One day at a time. Simple is best. Engage each moment.