"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Friday, May 14, 2004 I leave for Ghana three weeks from tomorrow ... something that I feel increasingly feel excited and ill-prepared for. It's not that I haven't done all the "stuff" that I need to do before I leave. I have the visa, most of the stuff I need to bring, I'm working out the glitches with the video equipment and computer, I've got just about everything around the house ready for me to leave.
I feel ill-prepared because just about everything I do I can prepare by by working harder, by doing a whole bunch of stuff. It's the same kind of itch we get when something happens to someone or we want to honor someone and our first instinct is to go buy something for them. My default gut feeling is that when approaching a trip this big I should be doing more to prepare for it.
But more and more, I realize that resisting the urge to do, to fill the time with functioning, is what I really must be about. For me to be prepared to go to this place that is so different from anywhere I've ever been and to get and give the most I can, I need to be as receptive as possible. I need to slow my life down and do less rather than more.
So that's what I'm trying to do ... in little ways. There are still things to be done and I will do them, but I need to look at the way I do things.
Take driving. For the past couple days, I've had to do my usual amount of driving, but I've tried to do it while always driving at or under the speed limit.
The first thing I learned is that it's just damn hard to do. NOBODY drives the speed limit -- especially on the freeway -- so you have to be in slow lane and then everyone is always going around you. In the city, you end up feeling like a snowbird (an Arizona term we use to describe older people who show up in the winter wearing Bermuda shorts and driving their big cars very slowly with their turn signals perpetually on).
But the other thing I learned is that it feels really good to slow down, to enjoy the journey instead of concentrating so much on how fast I get there. It might seem simple or stupid, but something simple and stupid like driving the speed limit has helped me breathe easier, helped me feel like I'm appreciating life instead of pushing through it.
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"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."