When was the last time you just sat there and did nothing? It seems like a foolhardy question but humour me. Simply taking the time to be “in the moment” may not be a waste of time but might be the antidote to a life that seems to perpetually be in motion. The moments that seem insignificant can actually prove, in time, to be the most important.
I recently returned from a trip to Germany where I was attending a work conference, and towards the end of my time there, I was quite exhausted. I hadn’t really taken the time to take everything in, and it was actually weighing me down—to the point where I felt physically ill.
A breath of fresh air
There was a particular moment where I actually felt, well, helpless. I was alone at a table drinking tea when someone I didn’t know struck up a conversation. It was a breath of fresh air, and I relished it. What I didn’t know was that the conversation I was about to have was to have a deeper impact than I actually realised.
I had only two days earlier realised that the place where I was staying would not be able to accommodate me for the remainder of my stay, and a friend who I thought I would be able to stay with, was travelling out of the country. I didn’t know anyone else I could stay with; that is, until I met this stranger at the conference. Without even mentioning the need for a place to stay, the stranger pulled out the address of where he was staying and said if I ever needed a place to stay, he had a guest house close to his office where visitors often could be accommodated at no charge.
I was flabbergasted. How could he possibly know that I needed a place to stay? Was he just being nice? Could this really be true? I hesitated. Perhaps it would be too much to ask.
Battle of the soul
Sometimes, in moments like these, we find ourselves caught between what I like to call a battle of the soul. Our minds often think in hypotheticals—what can happen, and what should occur. However, when it comes to the soul, we usually act on what our hearts convict us of. It is not a matter of wit or will, but rather, a pondering of what is possible.
I ended up catching up to my newfound friend and asking him if I could, in fact, take him up on his offer. He willingly obliged, and a phone call later, I found myself with a train ticket in hand and a place to stay for the next forty-eight hours. My friend entertained me for the next few days, accompanied me on my journey, hosted me at his house for meals, and even paid for my travels. It was truly a blessing in disguise, and one that I could have taken for granted if my head had overruled my heart.
So, on the train journey to my final destination, when my newfound friend finally faded into the distance on the train platform and I found myself alone once again, I took the time to ponder.
Life certainly has a way of teaching us lessons we would otherwise try to avoid. Trusting a stranger takes a lot of courage but blessing a stranger who perhaps cannot return the favour takes even more. For my newfound friend, it was worth the time.
Finding purpose in moments of life that seem beyond our control can take time to understand. But in the end, we are all the better for it; because in those moments where our future seems so unclear, we find a God to whom we can entrust both our deepest fears, and our most fearless longings. We then realise what it takes to make time, instead of admitting we don’t have any.
I wonder if we take the time to ponder, life’s purpose might just become clearer.
Joseph Kolapudi is a TCK born in Australia to Indian parents, and returned from California where he was studying theology at Fuller; currently, he is working with a missions agency, continuing his love of writing by contributing to PSI.
Joseph Kolapudi's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/joseph-kolapudi.html