A Work in Progress

Road in Kenya

Breathe. Relax. Follow the path in front of you.

I woke up in a panic this morning. I had dreamed that I had planned a second trip to Africa – and that I had to leave TOMORROW. In my dream I was rushing around trying to get ready for the last minute trip: I still didn’t have my vaccines. I hadn’t packed. I couldn’t find my camera. Ack!

Breathe. Relax. In reality, I still have another month to figure that all out. And I still have a lifetime to work out everything else. One of my favorite poems reminds me of just this fact: Life is a work in progress.

In the midst of the whirling day,
In the hectic rush to be doing,
In the frantic pace of life, Pause here for a moment.
Catch your breath; Relax your body; Loosen your grip on life.
Consider that our lives are always unfinished business;
Imagine that the picture of our being is never complete;
Allow your life to be a work in progress.
- Richard S. Gilbert, Life Is Always Unfinished Business

Helping and serving others is also a continually evolving activity. Even Mother Theresa realized that when she said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The goal is maybe to reach a hundred, a thousand, people. And it all starts with just one. As I wrote last week, sometimes that “just one” will go on to feed others, expanding in a sort of pyramid scheme of good will. [Read last week's post.]

Start with what you have: Racheal shares a piglet with Lyness in Manyamula, Malawi

Start with what you have: Racheal shares a piglet with Lyness in Manyamula, Malawi

Del Anderson encouraged people to begin the process and feed that one person. “Start with what you have ,” he often said (and wrote) to those who came to him for advice and help. That’s helpful advice for our partners who daily see the immense need in their communities. There are people who are hungry, those who lack steady employment, and countries that lack greater systems of electricity and sewage.

Del’s advice was to first recognize that we all have something to give. If we can’t feed a hundred, maybe we have a little bit of food or money that we can share with one other person. We can allow (and welcome) all this as part of a work – and a life – in progress.

This is comfort for grant partners and seekers of justice – and even to someone who still has a million details to plan before flying to Malawi in just 32 days. Thank you God for the many sources of wisdom around me, which remind me to breathe and start with what’s right in front of me!

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2 Responses to “A Work in Progress”

  1. marsha johnson June 3, 2014 7:18 pm
    #

    These are wonderful reminders for all of us, Tanya, even if we don’t have a monumental trip with many preparations ahead! There’s always some task before us, and approaching it mindfully and trustingly can certainly multiply the benefits all the way around.

    Thank you for your inspiration…

    Blessings and clarity in your preparations,
    Marsha

  2. Tish Bayer June 3, 2014 8:15 pm
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    A beautiful piece of wisdom.

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