The other day my wife and I took a stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the beauty of a large lake—the rugged mountains rising on both sides, the river that flows into the lake and supplies it with fresh water, the birds bobbing on the waves, the ever-changing hues of the lake, and the sun reflecting off the surface, transforming it into a stream of glittering gold. The big body of water and surrounding mountains provide a uniquely sheltered and pleasant climate.
After graduating from college, I was glad to leave my books and assignments behind and was itching to jump into all the new experiences awaiting me in the workplace. I had been a good student during my college years and I was sure that my foreign language proficiency and good work ethic would land me a challenging job in the field that I was the most interested in. When I did not receive any substantial offers after sending out a first batch of resumes, however, I realized that my new and exciting job wasn’t going to happen as soon as I’d expected.
I recently saw a ketchup ad for a famous brand that showed ketchup pouring out of a bottle very slowly, accompanied by the song “At Last.” It reminded me of being a child and waiting for ketchup to pour out on my hamburger agonizingly slowly.
We live on a country road on the outskirts of a small town. There are two ways to enter our village from our side of town, but both present several obstacles for cyclists like my husband and me.
One entrance has a STOP sign that is habitually ignored by the motorists, many of whom pay no attention whatsoever to the right-of-way rules. Many folks use this road as a shortcut and don’t realize that there are narrow stretches, pedestrians shopping at roadside stalls, and lowly cyclists on our way to town.
“The Man Who Planted Trees,” by Jean Giono, is the allegorical tale of Elzéard Bouffier, a humble shepherd who single-handedly transformed a barren region of southern France by planting nuts as he watched his sheep graze on a different hillside each day. It also inspired the motto that appears on the cover of each issue of Activated: “Change your life. Change your world.”
In my quest to accomplish some of my goals and turn my dreams into reality, I’m currently in a position where things ahead seem quite bleak. There is little I can do to make progress on my own, and I can’t really see much farther up the path.
I’m learning how important it is to enjoy the journey and not just be enthused with the final destination. The destination does define the journey, and of course, is very important. But we often spend much more time traveling than we do enjoying the final goal, so it’s wise to learn to appreciate the day-by-day things more.
On a rare day that I actually had a bit of time to do some organizing, I came to a realization about myself (not the most impressive one): I have a lot of “unfinished business,” at least to do with personal projects. When I receive work with a deadline, I strive to accomplish that in a timely fashion. Because someone is counting on me, I don’t want to disappoint them by being tardy.
God, teach me to be patient;
Teach me to go slow.
Teach me how to wait on You
When my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance
When things do not go right,
So I remain unruffled
When others grow uptight.
Not long ago, when we checked our credit card statement after buying an airline ticket, we discovered that the airline had charged us twice. We contacted the airline in the hope of correcting the error right away to avoid the charge and interest that it would incur. After three futile and time-consuming phone calls to the company’s call center, we felt irritated and helpless. Then we called our bank and were advised to block the credit card until we could find a solution.