My favourite time travel movie is (obviously) Back to the Future. I can’t tell you how thoroughly childish and excited I was when it had a cinematic re-release last year. I was 1 when it first came out, so I never got the chance to watch it in the cinema. This time I took full advantage of the opportunity afforded me! I might add, that it was one of the best cinematic experiences I have had in recent years.
I won’t explain the movie, because if you haven’t seen it, you should soon and I’m not going to ruin it for you. But, as mentioned it is a time travel story. How amazing would it be if you could go back and change something from your past? Maybe something you did, or a way you behaved. Maybe something really small that seemed inconsequential at the time. Maybe something recent, and maybe something a long time ago. I am fascinated by the fact that tiny little choices and reactions, the smallest of events, can have the most extreme and long lasting repercussions. When Marty McFly goes back in time and accidentally stops his parents meeting the course of history, or is it the future…let’s just say time, changes (this should cause a massive paradox really, but we’ll forgive them in the name of entertaining film making!) and he spends the rest of the film solving the problem he’s created.
But the point I really wanted to talk about was time. During August, Chennai Challenge is in it’s peak activity period. The teams are in India working every day alongside the local organisations we partner with, the blog is updated (almost) every day and we are getting very sweaty in a very hot Chennai. That is what August is for us. That is not what March is for us. In March we don’t have a meeting with the team, and there are no obvious events taking place. But that doesn’t mean that March isn’t important.
If August is the time for travelling to India with the team and meeting the boys, September is the time for dealing with reverse culture shock, writing the project report, meeting with the Spiritual Board and the Trustees and feeding back our experiences to our friends and family. October through to December is the time for recruiting team members and preparing practically and spiritually for the next year’s project. January is the time for meeting the new team and starting to fund raise. And so it goes on.
There is a time for everything. Whilst we’re in India it can feel like time gets away from us and we don’t have the time to do everything we want, which leads to us sometimes trying to cram everything in. Actually we have to make sure that we are using our time well. We have to make sure there is time for us to rest. Time for us to eat (yes, we all know it’s important Rob!). Time for us to run around with the boys, and time for us to sit quietly with them. Time for us to stop and think about why we’re there. Time to plan for activities we run. Time to get to know each other and our friends at the YMCA and Oasis.
When you think about the totality of time…well, I don’t think I can think about the totality of time. My head starts to do that thing in ‘Vertigo’ when James Stewart is hanging off the building. It is just too much for my little mind to fathom! Better just to enjoy the time that we have, to use it wisely, to try to take pleasure in work and in play. I believe that God knows more than me (“Really?!?!” I hear the people cry!). I believe God knows what happened before I was born, and also knows what will happen after I am gone. But as for me, I want to push myself, to work hard, to value each moment and enjoy all the different opportunities that I have. In short I want to make the most of the time I’ve been given. There is a time for everything, and for that I am very grateful.
(with thanks to the writer of Ecclesiastes)