Tuesday, October 16, 2012

See the Train Coming

“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Proverbs 13:4

~ Sunday Fadiya is a name that I will never forget.  He was an older gentleman from Nigeria who was in many of my education classes in college.  He was an interesting man who had a lot of unique and creative ideas.  Even though he was sometimes difficult to understand with his heavy Nigerian accent, I learned to understand him, and I grew to adore him and his accent.  Little did I know that this man would impart so much wisdom on me.  This is just one of many Sunday Fadiya stories...
Sunday and I were assigned to do our practicum teaching in Champaign which was a 45 minute drive or more from Eastern Illinois University.  When I learned that he didn’t have a car and wasn’t sure how he was going to get there,  I immediately offered him a ride.  He was so grateful.  A few days a week, I would pick him up at 6:45am, and he would be waiting outside for me.   One morning, he was waiting outside in the snow and was freezing cold and covered with snow by the time I got there. 
So, I asked him, “Sunday, how long have you been waiting for me?” 
He said, “Oh, I wait about a half an hour or so.” 
I said, “Why?  I told you that I’m not going to be here to pick you up until 6:45am.  Why do you start waiting so early?” 
He told me in his strong Nigerian accent which somehow just sounds wiser, “In Nigeria I was always taught that it is better to see the train coming at you than it is to see the train pass you by.”  
At the time, I didn't know just how valuable that simple sentence would be to me someday, but at the time, my only concern was to try to keep him warm and dry a little longer, so I knew what I had to do.  I would have to tell him that I was going to pick him up later than I actually was.  One time I decided to tell him I wasn’t going to pick him up until about 7:15am knowing that he would start waiting for me at 6:45am which was really the time that I needed to pick him up.   That way he would just be getting out there as I would arrive saving him from waiting out in the cold for so long.  Oh, you should have seen that panicked look on his face.   He was so mad at me.  I explained my reasoning for doing that, but he didn’t understand at all. 
~I wish that I could be more like Sunday.  Do you?  Do you struggle with being on time?  Punctuality is not my strength.  It seems that I am always running late---or as Sunday would put it---I am always seeing the train pass me by.  Sometimes I can be so late that the train isn’t even in sight, not even nearby, and probably already moved on to the next train station.  This is an issue in my life that God has pointed out to me.  It’s something that I am working on and getting better at, and in fact, not only am I challenging myself to be on time, but my goal now is to be early!  What a concept? Honestly, the world around me just feels different when I'm not rushing around or rushing my kids around.  I get to see things I don't normally see.  I get to meet people I wouldn't normally meet.  I get to take time to enjoy my kids a little longer.  I get to stare at the sunset for a little longer.  It's amazing what allowing just a little bit more time can do. 
I love this quote by Lord Chesterfield "Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no delay, no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today."  
This week, I pray that you will see many trains coming at you and not so many passing you by.

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