We found him!
My sister (from Ohio) called and said that she decided enough was enough. If nobody else was going to do it, she was. Somebody had to start. And, as my mother always said, you never know if you don’t ask. The worst that could happen was either a “no,” or the sound in her ears of a phone being hung up. The task? Was our cousin still in Columbus? The only way was to look in the phone book and see if that name was his. And, the last 40 some years of no communication was now over–it was our long lost family member. They are planning to get together, share old family pictures, and catch up on news from the last four decades. What if my sister had said, “I’m just too busy?”
What’s the purpose of being so busy? Is it for survival, or getting ahead? Is it to put food on the table, or have a new car every three years?
I’m reminded of my work in China in a small rural farming town. Survival is the main economic need in this town. Work would begin at sunup and continue to dark. For example, on my way to school in the early morning, I’d walk past an old two story building. One particular day I stopped and witnessed scores of gentlemen with sledgehammers on the second floor beating the walls to bits. “Odd,” I thought, “is this anger management?”
On the way home for lunch that day, I noticed the walls were slowly disappearing. The heat was oppressive and the humidity was extreme, and the workmen kept pounding away. In about a week, the two story building was completely gone: blow-by-blow, the work never ceased until the task was done. What once was a building was now dust.
The whole town worked liked this. However, in the evenings, the community gathered on the sidewalk to play chess, socialize, and visit. The laughter, joy, and atmosphere was infectious. Even though I couldn’t understand the Mandarin, I realized these townspeople had a gift: they made time for each other in spite of the work to be done. The biggest thing I noticed? The happiness! As back breaking as the work was, these people were so peaceful!
Do we need to take time to play chess on our sidewalks? Do you remember Hurricane Isabel and the fun of meeting neigbors as we shared food at neighborhood cook outs?
Maybe the stress of testing, grading papers, pacing with the curriculum guide would be easier to tackle if we made time to play and relax. Who cares if we don’t have the newest car? Who cares if we have to duct tape a cabinet?
I don’t know about you, but I’m now going to quit blogging, not worry about VSTE, and go sit with my family.