Small moments

As I’ve alluded to before on this blog, much of my experience in Lesotho is leading to internal growth. I am learning more about myself than ever before and slowly growing into the person that I’ve always wanted to be but for some reason couldn’t in America.

Example: At the end of each Christmas season, I am usually disappointed that the moment is over. I feel that I didn’t do all that could/have enough to enjoy the little moments of the build up to the day. I don’t spend Saturday mornings making cookies and listening to holiday music. I don’t watch enough Christmas specials huddled under a blanket with a good cup of hot chocolate. I don’t drive around to look at Christmas lights hung from each home or enjoy the displays in department stores. I don’t get dressed up and go to a fancy holiday party.

Like many, I wait till the last minute to buy gifts and wrap them. I try to watch a few movies crammed into one day and throw together a few cookies without decorating them properly. I try to survive the holidays instead of embracing them, a regret I feel each year I’ve been away for Christmas (I haven’t been home for Christmas since 2009).

But in Africa, life is not crammed with to-do activities or artificial deadlines. The days go on and it is up to you to decided how to enjoy them.

At first, for an American, especially one who never seems to have a moment of free time, this is maddening. I show up for things on time and end up waiting. I make plans and they are disrupted.

In the last year, I’ve learned to live on Basotho time, which doesn’t necessarily mean being late for things but rather taking your time to enjoy the small moments.

This morning shakes of thunder and flashes of lightening woke me up before 5 a.m., when I had hoped to rise for a run. I readjusted my alarm thank for full for the extra sleeping, knowing the run will come later in the day.

When it was time to wake up for good, the rain was still falling. I love rainy mornings, but have often felt that I don’t get to appreciate them nearly enough. Usually, I had to rush to work or the rain was disruption to some activity. Instead of worrying about walking through the rain to school, I put on the teakettle and a loaf of bread. I planned to write (which I am doing now) and go through my Google Reader, while listening to that beautiful sound of water against my roof.

In a fast-paced world overpowered by guilt and the need to be somewhere or do something, we find the rain an inconvenience. Unless it is your livelihood, we don’t see it as the nourishment for our nourishment. We don’t see it as the chance to start fresh. We forget about the smell, the feel, the gentleness. We rush about it and never take the time to enjoy the break Mother Nature grant’s us while she does a bit of watering.

I love when it rains in Lesotho. The whole village shuts down. The washing, sweeping and caring for the animals are all put on hold until the natural symphony has concluded. After ward, the Basotho do not rush about trying to make up for lost time. Instead, the calmly resume their day and go on.

I am late for school, but it is OK. We are testing today and my only obligations are to finish writing an exam and mark a few others, all activities I am confident will get done before the day closes. I’ve had a delightful morning, listening to the rain and then some gentle music, eating fresh bread and sipping a hot cappuccino. In these moments we appreciate life for what they are and are restored. But first, we have to experience them.


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