Instant. There is so much instant in my life. Instant TV. Instant notification. Instant gratification. (But not instant coffee, that would be bad.)
Let’s roll back the clock a few hundred years when traveling across the country took months or years, and traveling across the ocean took a fight with disease and starvation. Transitioning from the known to the unknown was understood to be a challenge that was worth risking your life for – dreams await, so pack your covered wagon and hope to not get Consumption before you arrive.
Now, a few months of waiting for something to work out and we get discouraged, distracted, think it isn’t meant to be. If we don’t show up with a ready house, a ready community, ready friends, a ready job, it is hard to be content and hard to find your place. If we don’t experience blessings, we think we are in the wrong place, wrong time and need to reevaluate.
The world just isn’t used to the time it takes to build a life. We replace instead of fix. We make short-term decisions to the detriment of long-term. We seek to acquire a benefit for today istead of sacrifice for the sake of tomorrow.
In the 1800s, along the long trail from East to West, people probably began to know each other and meet families that were venturing into the unknown with them, building community before they even stopped to claim a homestead. Marriages happened, babies were born and graves were dug before they ever even “arrived.”
Today I can take a 4 hour flight and not talk to the guy sitting next to me. Today we can live in a neighborhood and not know our neighbors. Today we sit in a crowded room on our cellular telephones and talk to people we already know instead of meeting knew ones.
I don’t mean to romanticize the past or wagon trains as a better time for relationships, (I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it) but I wonder where it became less okay to be in transition and less okay to be stepping into the unknown and less okay to not have things figured out.
I propose we give each other and ourselves a little more time and grace in this world. As we pioneer forward we will need time to make our new trails and need to be able to make mistakes without feeling like each mistake is a life-defining failure.
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