IT’S ABOUT TIME… AN UNFORGETTABLE LESSON
Today as I was dashing through the usual busy-ness of life, I reflected on a lesson I learned while on an expedition in Satawal.
I’m with a 6-man film crew on a remote island in Micronesia. The island Is one mile long by a half-mile wide, about the size of an average American shopping complex. Satawal has a lush innocence about it.
Here, there’s limited contact with the outside world, no running water, no power.
When the crew and I land, we discover a ‘bit’ of a problem…
There’s also no way to transport our 5,000 lbs. of provisions–medical supplies, food, water and film equipment! The only thing with wheels is an old, rusty cart.
So I do my best clumsily maneuvering the wheelbarrow, now laden with film gear, along a narrow, dirt path. The guys have gone ahead. They’re hauling equipment by hand. We race toward the island’s south shore determined to photograph the severely eroded coastline before the sun fades. We may not get there in time. Exhausted, I’m stubborn and unwillingly to be the weak link on our team.
In the next moment I look up to see a palu, a Satawalese navigator-priest, walking toward me. His stride is slow and deliberate like that of an elder statesman. By comparison, I’m anxious and unsteady.
What happens next stops me in my tracks.
It still does…
“Dr. Lindsey,” he asks, “why you go so fast?”
I explain that the crew waiting for me. (I’m never comfortable keeping anyone waiting, including my dog.)
There’s a loooooooooong pause.
Finally, he shakes his head, looks me straight in the eye and says, “YOU FOLKS HAVE WATCHES BUT YOU NO HAVE TIME.”
I’ve never forgotten his lesson.
Whenever I’m rushing through airports,
rushing through email,
rushing through commitments, much like today,
I pause to think about that Micronesian navigator-priest.
His words still thunder.