yesterday and today and tomorrow and the next day I learn patience

7 07 2011

Once in Uganda I quickly realised (again) how lacking I am in this trait.  We have become very accustomed to things working quickly in the more developed world and expect that life and our plans should happen when we decide they should.

Terms like “African time” and even “TIA” (this is Africa) remind us that time here means something quite different to our concept.  Time here is far more fluid. Townspeople have watches and do use them, but it seems to me that time is used far more advantageously than in the cities on the Big Shiny West.  The simpler ‘peasants’ here work according to the sun.  They do not have electricity, so sleep early, and use the day for the tasks to be accomplished.

When we arrived I realised that getting a house, our boxes of goods, even stating something useful would not happen when I wanted it to.  I would have to WAIT.

What has sparked this deep contemplation of patience is my knitting class. I allowed an extra class today as the ladies’ Bible Study I attend has not yet started, and the ladies in the knitting group seem very enthusiastic.  

I had thought that we would be onto baby’s bootee pattern by the second lesson.  Reality says NO.  By the end of today’s class, after 4 hours of lesson time, only 1 of the 8 or so ladies who attended today could knit beyond  a second row.

God has a peculiar sense of humour by choosing ME to teach knitting. I am a lefty, I do not knit fast and my knowledge of the range of cast-ons, cast-offs, etc is limited.  I am by no means an expert knitter: I knit because I enjoy it, it is relaxing and I love the chance to be creative while watching TV, travelling, etc.  Here I am, trying to teach a group of ladies how to be good at it… the humour DOES strike me! 

PATIENCE. The word came to me over and over as I moved from lady to lady, trying again (with my right hand!) to show how to cast on.I did not lose it with anybody, but asked myself if I had not JUST showed them this? Again?   The lesson the ladies teach me is the greatest: they will sit, without complaint, waiting for an half hour until I reach them. They will try over and over again, until the yarn is threadbare, attempting to form the stitches that just do not join unless done in a certain way.  We did not get beyond an attempt at cast-ons on Tuesday: they would patiently cast on a needle full of stitches, pull them all off again, and do it all again.  Every now and again one will give a small harrumph of displeasure at not ‘getting it’, but it is not acceptable to show great impatience. 

Drivers here do not rant and hoot like crazy; the culture seems to revolve around PEOPLE more than around TIME.  Wait for others and your turn will come. (except in places where I like queues – the supermarket, post office – there anyone can stand where they would like!^_^ odd!)

Today I feel rather frustrated – what am I not doing properly? Why have more ladies not knitted scarves the length of swimming pools?  and the most pertinent: Why am I not more patient? With myself? With the process they are going through?

God uses patience as a teaching tool.  All of creation WAITS expectantly for the coming of the Saviour.  1 Thes 5:14 encourages us to be patient with all. 1 Tim 6:11 encourages godly people to pursue patience and gentleness. James 1:4 points out that patience is necessary for a perfect work, to be a complete person.

I have not learned the lesson of patience yet.  I will still be learning tomorrow. And the next day.  And again, I am sure.




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