In almost 8 weeks here in Ghana, I have discovered that I have a very hard time being still. I don’t just mean quiet, as anyone who knows me can attest to. I cannot just “be”. I cannot count the number of times someone has asked me to “be still”, and I also cannot count the number of times I have tried to honor those requests, only to fail. Even here, where life is certainly slower than life in America, I find that I have to be doing something or I feel that I am being lazy, or useless. It is driving the boys, Evans and Bernard, crazy. So I want to really examine what it means to be still, and try to figure out how I can do it.
So today is about the 8th day that we have not had power for the entire day. These are planned outages, announce the previous evening, for the power company to ostensibly work on the system. Clearly, there is a lot of work to do if this is day #8 in less than 2 months! These outages typically start between 6:00 and 8:00 in the morning, and stay out until 6:00-7:00 at night. That is a lot of time to be away from electronics, television, and even running water since the pumps need electricity. One would think these would be the perfect opportunities for me to be still. This morning, I drove to Dawhenya to go to the ATM (about an hour round trip) I visited the house site twice to view the progress, managed to do 2 loads of laundry before losing the power, cleaned the bathroom, and packed for my departure to Accra tomorrow, followed by 3 weeks in Sweden and Norway before returning to Maine at the end of the month. Now I find myself wondering how I am going to kill the 5 or 6 hours before the power returns. What is that prevents me from just “being”?
Clearly, I need to keep working on this. Evans pointed out this morning that I have worked hard teaching for over 30 years, so I deserve to not work. But I am not ready to do that, I am pretty sure. I know there is plenty for me to do here, and back at home, so I guess what I really need to figure out is how much I want to do. And then force myself to be still. I suppose I am a bit worried about what I will find in myself if I actually do find the ability to be still and just “be” for any extended time. But it is time. I’ll let you know what I discover! In the meantime, I hope you can find the time and ability to be still, to be.