Back at ACU, I complained about walking from my dorm to the JMC building… a 10 minute walk. Now, I’m walking everywhere.
This city doesn’t seem to revolve around speed and instant gratification, much like Dallas, the Metroplex and even (sometimes) Abilene tend to do. Back home we take the fastest route, go over the speed limit, and dread walking anywhere… even to the mailbox. Sometimes I would literally sprint down my dorm hall because walking “takes too long…” Ha! Every minute counts at home. Every red light adds minutes. We get frustrated at everyone who drives below (or at) the speed limit. We get annoyed at people who walk slow, drive slow, talk slow…
What’s the rush?
Here, I am now walking six miles or more every day, carrying my groceries home and walking across town to get to class and church. At home, I know it takes exactly six minutes to get to work, as long as I make that first green light. Since arriving in Oxford, I haven’t wasted a single thought trying to figure out how long it takes to walk somewhere.
It’s refreshing. Despite the bitter cold and slippery ice, walking is enjoyable. Time isn’t of the essence. We’ve got plenty of it. Maybe that will change once homework starts piling up, but somehow I think I’ll still find time to walk around or sit down in a pub and just talk. Somehow I think I’ll always be “guesstimating” the time it takes to get somewhere rather than calculating the journey to the exact minute.
Life, as far as I’ve seen in the short week here, is calmer… slower… quieter. It’s much more peaceful, even when the streets are filled with people. The pubs are full, but people are talking between bites rather than inhaling their food, not looking at who they’re with.
You’ve probably heard this cliche before, but I’ll say it anyway… It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. And it feels true here.
Back home, it’s definitely not about the journey, but it’s almost not even about the destination, either. At home, it’s about being at the next place. You’re at home, you’ve got to get to work. You’re at work, you want to go home. You’re at school, you want class to end. You’re in the dorm, you’re rushing to class to get there on time.
It’s always the next thing and we’re left ignoring not only the journey but the destination as well. What a sorry life!
Why can we not enjoy the walk to the pub, the meal and people at the pub and the walk back from the pub? Every part of that journey can be enjoyable if we just decide to slow down, look around and focus on the people we’re with and where we are and the beauty that surrounds us.