Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adjusting My Clock---AGAIN!

I am writing this article at 8:27 p.m. I just got off the phone and the man I am waiting for told me (I called him), that he will ‘hopefully’ be here within the next 30 minutes. The problem? We had a 7:00 appointment. He is a worker doing some repair. I would just tell him to forget about it, but then I would have to do the same thing with someone else tomorrow…if I could find someone else. I just have to adjust my clock…again.

One of the biggest adjustments of living here is the ambiguous nature of time. In the States I kept a daytimer in 15 minute increments. On Monday, I would schedule the entire week…nine hours a day, four segments per hour. Then, although I would always have to flex probably 20%...I stuck as close to the daytimer as I could. And I would NEVER wait two hours for a worker.  Yet here…people just don’t care about time. You can call it anything you want…but the fact is that time is very relative. Take for example a wedding a couple of weeks ago. The invitation said “4:00 Saturday Afternoon”. You want to know something painfully funny? This is the truth. At 4:00 on Saturday afternoon….the exact time of the invitation….the people who were decorating the church came. The rest of the people did not get there till after 5, the wedding party till after 5:30, and the bride came in sometime right before 6:20….and NOBODY CARED. The extended wait just gave people a chance to talk and laugh. Caleb helped out with a HUGE Christian concert the other night held in the soccer stadium. The concert tickets and advertising said that the concert started at 7:30. About 9:00, Caleb called and said he was going to be very late getting home because they had not even finished sound check yet. The stadium was full of people just….waiting. Can you even imagine this in the States?

I have to adjust my clock. I keep telling myself that I am traveling through life, and I have to adjust my watch to the different time zones I am in….like driving across America. Only…the time zones are not established…they are flexbile. Sometimes 7:00 means 7:00….or 8:00…or 9:30…or tomorrow. I just have to adjust my heart. The person that I am meeting with is more important than when I meet with them…so…please pray for us to keep our attitudes connected to Jesus!

Gotta go…it is 9:08 and he is here!


J R Phillips said...

Great post, Pastor Joe...we called this "Romania time" whenever we were there (as you probably know). Guess you've got a full-blown case of Bolivia time on your hands! I love the emphasis on people and relationships vs deadlines and calendars in the US. Frustrating when cultures clash but kind of puts things in perspective about what is important in the grand scheme of life.