Last week, when we drove an hour and a half to Boaco to accompany a choir practice that was cancelled, and then returned to encounter a caravan of horses and revelers blocking the road back into Juigalpa, we calmly turned off the car and realized that we are becoming mellow:
- made gentle and compassionate by age or maturity; softened.
- pleasantly agreeable; free from tension, discord, etc.
- affably relaxed; easygoing; genial.
- soft and rich, as sound, tones, color, or light.
It helps a lot that we are retired, without the demands of work, house, family, friends, and personal projects. Those are great blessings, which have made our lives rich and rewarding, but our busy schedules and sense of responsibility have also contributed a considerable amount of stress through the years.
Here, we have nothing else to do but offer all of our time, talents, and energy to teaching, supporting, and demonstrating service and leadership in a place where few people have a busy schedule or sense of responsibility. No one will be mad at us if we are late reaching an appointment. They might not even be there when we arrive. This is what not busy looks like:
Sometimes we arrive in a city to discover that there is no electricity. Since our pianos are electronic, and it is dark by 6:00pm in every season, we are sometimes left without much productivity. One day we used our idle time in Boaco sweeping and mopping–apparently the designated cleaners didn’t make it that week.
I have discovered that I need some kind of handwork to do when I might otherwise be “wasting time,” so I followed the example of my dear friend Barbara Gibson, who made handy cloth bags so people could carry their scriptures to church. Without a sewing machine, I at first thought I couldn’t do any sewing here, but now I am prepared to use the idle moments, when I am waiting for something else to happen. Being productive helps me not feel frustrated or annoyed. “They also serve who only stand and wait.” (That’s John Milton, not the scriptures.)
We are trying to develop the same attitude of patience toward the church members who are slowly learning what it means to follow Jesus Christ. Sometimes we are disappointed and discouraged when people, who say they believe, refuse to give service or decide to make terrible choices in their personal lives. A part of becoming mellow is developing the faith to believe what Jesus said in a tiny parable that I never noticed before our mission:
And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
Mark 4:26, 27
We have faith that our Heavenly Father, who loves all of His children, can someday transform the lives and hearts of the people of Nicaragua, and build up His kingdom here. We hope we can learn to let Him take charge and transform our lives along the way, making us more mellow: gentle, compassionate, affable, and free from discord of all kinds.