Something about a 25 year old story
There was a white fella who lived in a remote indigenous community for a long time. After 25 years, his friend told him a Dreamtime story. When asked why he had never shared this story before, the response was “Well, we know each other now!”
It took 25 years to share something as important as a story.
The friend was of the belief that what you say first, will be the least important thing to you. The longer you wait to say something, the more important that thing is to you.
It’s hard to get your head around such a notion. To think that the words we boldly share in haste as a means of bonding with one another would, in some cultures, be the least important thing you want to tell them – simply because you’re saying it first. You must say a lot more before you get to the important stuff.
Those deeper stories are held onto for lengths of time. As the relationship matures and grows through seasons, physically and metaphorically. Friendships are formed well after uncountable sunrises and sunsets are shared together. Moments of comfortable ‘hush’ are welcomed in between years filled with deep conversations – longevity bringing with it a sense of integrity.
Longevity allows a trust to form and solidify enough that binds folk together and time is given its honourable worth.
It’s no wonder that we struggle cross-culturally, with our fancy new development ideas and western ways of attacking life with misguided vigour. We rarely give time any value as we pitch it against progress. For some of us, time is precious for its scarcity. The very thought of infinite amounts of it, go beyond our comprehension.
Our culture speaks differently. Shouting our ‘top ten’ affirmations from the Instagram-mountain-top begets a sense of relevance and notoriety suitable for our ego that has little to do with a deep knowledge of something and nothing to do with taking our time to get there. We’ve learnt how to hustle. We are intentional about that hustle too. We rush into decisions and embrace changing landscapes of life, including the landscape of our friends.
We rarely hold onto anything too tightly these days and with social connection literally at our fingertips, it’s easy to give too much away too quickly. Solomon speaks of guarding our heart with diligence. The inner core that holds our thoughts, our will, desires, and feelings are sometimes better left protected than put on display. Because from our heart flows the springs of life and that is a true treasure!
The tale of the guy who took 25 years to share something important brings up some curious musings. Time was an investment rather than a short-term deposit. One that allowed for deep understanding over simply knowing. Do we give ourselves the time to be connected with life and allow for us to be mindful of what it says in Luke 6:45 – for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Thanks Sera for this. My wife and I live cross-culturally in Mozambique and have discovered that relationships take time; trust takes time to develop, openness and vulnerability also. Unfortunately us westerners are at a disadvantage when it comes to this because we want everything to happen yesterday. We keep praying Lord your timing not ours. I also need to work on my listening. I’m to happy to get in there and talk without actually even thinking to listen (that and I want to test out my new language acquisition). So I appreciate your reminder that relationships take time and a long term view rather than the ‘Instagram’ approach is best…but 25 years…
Hey Ben! I know right! 25 years seems pretty long! I feel like the story made an impact on me because of the length of time but I know that even though relationships take some time – God is all about relationships (and timing too!) God bless you and your wife as you live, work and serve in Mozambique. May you see His glory in the everyday and ordinary moments.
He certainly is Sera. He’s perseverance personified in that regard. No other person/God would be willing to stick with us broken image brearers for as long as he has.
Thanks for the encouragement.