Busy. Overwhelmed. Errands. Rushing. These words pretty well describe the American way of life for most people. We are always moving on to the next thing, having hardly tasted the moment we were just in. Our lives are a buffet—a little of this, a little of that, and hardly enough time to focus on any one thing. We want to have it all and do it all. We have dabbled in a million things and focused on nothing.
I’ve heard people say that compared to other countries, America is a very task-oriented society, workaholics married to fast-paced careers and fast-paced lives. If spouses get in the way of our “dreams,” the spouses go. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Case in point: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The woman in the book “self-actualizes” and leaves her husband to go pursue her “dreams.” [There were some good things about that book, but that is not one of them.]
I’ve been listening to bits and snippets of the book, “Three Cups of Tea,” by Greg Mortenson, and this section caught my ear:
“Haji Ali spoke. ‘If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways. The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die. Doctor Greg, you must take time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated but we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.’ That day, Haji Ali taught me the most important lesson I’ve ever learned in my life. We Americans think you have to accomplish everything quickly. We’re the country of thirty-minute power lunches and two-minute football drills. Haji Ali taught me to share three cups of tea, to slow down and make building relationships as important as building projects. He taught me that I had more to learn from the people I work with than I could ever hope to teach them.”
What a concept! “Make building relationships as important as building projects.”
Let me be the first to claim guilt here. I let my desire to clean the house rule my attitude around my husband. I pack my day full of activity, and make no intentional time for relationships. I give up on relationships when they don’t happen as quickly as I would like. I don’t take the time. I don’t “share three cups of tea.”
Slow down. Make time. Learn from others.
To some degree, our lives must be “full.” We work, we take care of our families, we rest. But imagine if instead of turning down opportunities to be with people, we could say, “I have the time.” Or at least would say, “I will make the time.”
God is not more glorified when I cleanthekitchenmakethebedrunerrandsgettheoilchangedmakedinnergogroceryshopping as opposed to if I took the entire afternoon and spent it with another person. My busyness does not make Him look more favorably on me.
Make time. Share “three cups of tea.”