Patience in the Land of Tech Support
It takes 6 weeks of Lent to get to Easter. It seems to take almost as long for emails and websites to load with the modem I was using in Ranchi, India. If you’ve sought tech support for phone or internet problems, chances are that you’ve talked with someone in Bangalore, India – often referred to as the Silicon Valley of India. Ranchi is no Bangalore – especially in the rural areas. We visited some places that don’t have electricity, much less internet connectivity (but they do have cell phones!). This is an agonizingly slow experience for a Type A, efficiency driven, multi-tasking person like myself. It has, however, given me “waiting time” during which I’ve been thinking about enforced patience. How did I parent, work, communicate, and survive 25 years ago? Much slower of course, but I didn’t know it. It only seems slow in comparison to what I know now.
It’s not just the internet that is slow here – so are our visits with local faith communities. I’ve finally learned that when I think our meeting is over and it’s time to go, it only means it’s time to have some tea or similar drink. When I think that is all, they start to bring out snacks – and then there may be songs, dancing, gifts, etc. Wait; aren’t we the ones who are supposed to bring gifts for our hosts? We did; but not nearly enough. Sometimes I’m a slow learner.
I like to think that I am a prayerful person. I pray daily. God and I talk about life, the past, the future, my worries, etc. It’s not that the community I am with necessarily spends more net time in prayer, but they speak it and move more slowly. Perhaps this is good; perhaps it is just different; but it does feel a little unnatural to my western bio-rhythms. Attention to preparing the environment is also great. Flowers are artfully arranged in the prayer space including the smallest detail of how petals are placed on the ground. All this takes time. It reminds me of Montessori education – prepare a conducive environment and the people/children will be inspired and grow. Is this pace a better way or not? God only knows. I’m simply trying to breathe it all in and understand.