I read this hot tip on some blog about writing this week: “Keep your writing timeless.”

Since I didn’t realize it would be something that would start bouncing around inside of me, I didn’t pay much attention to it and I can’t find it after a simple search.

This, however, has been a week rooted in time. Last weekend there was a migration of junior and senior high school foreigners to Beijing for a spring weekend camp. These kids look forward to the times they can be together and savor the moments. I look forward to it because there are three teen girls who ask to stay with me each fall and spring before and after camp.

This year they stayed for a week and my apartment became the hip place to be. Trust me, that is not normally the case as three fun teens is more of a drawing card than one middle-age chick! I’m not the greatest host, but I did have cookies, apples, and bread a’plenty.

Timeless, timeless, keep this timeless.

I met one girl when she toddled around, another when she was afraid to be around me, and the third when she was shorter than me. Time has marched on and not one of those statements is now true. They come from three countries, but now also reside in my heart.

With a friend, they made me the most amazing Indian curry, puri, and friend rice as a thank you. And I could have missed this.

With a friend, they made me the most amazing Indian curry, puri, and friend rice as a thank you. And I could have missed it. P.S. Apparently cool young people wear solid colored t-shirts. Yet another reason I shant be cool :)

Here is the timeless principle. Time is marching on. Friday afternoon a gaggle of young women sat around my living room talking about the gift of tongues and the role in the church. And I could have missed it.

I could have chosen over the years not to see them, engage them, or love them. And they me. I’m another adult passing through their lives. It’s exhausting to be in relationships and it costs time, effort, money, peace and quiet, endless picking up –whether the phone or the floor. It involves intentionality and sometimes I get tired and I want to just hole up. (Sometimes being most days as a borderline introvert.)

Time is going to march on.

Girls will grow.

Fashions will change. Trends will come and go.

You reap what you sow.

And what I forget in the mundane moment is that while I sow in the ordinary, I reap in the extraordinary. And that the extraordinary comes in surprising places.

Sunday night when all the kids got off the bus and they were tired and manic and hungry and wanting to be with their friends and tell their parents about their weekend, all at the same time, and there were bags and bodies and noise …three girls scanned the crowded room looking for me. And I for them. And I could have missed it. 

I’m in a reflective phase; and I don’t know when I’ll see these girls again. But even if I were staying, they are growing and would be going. What you are filling your days with now, won’t always be what fills your day. We will reap what we sow. We live timeless principles rooted in time, slogged out in the mundane. If we’re not mindful, we can miss it. 

The beauty of the extraordinary, hidden in the ordinary choices made over time. And I could have missed it.


Where was your week flavored with sowing? With reaping?

Leave A Comment

  1. Amanda April 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Yesterday morning I went to get a massage with a Chinese sister and I expected our time together to last the 40 minute massage and then go home. Instead we went to a bakery afterwards and sat for more than an hour discussing society issues such as teenagers dating, homosexuality, and cults. I could have missed it because I expected to have most of the morning to myself before a full afternoon of teaching. Then after class I had supper with a group of freshmen who I expected would take me to the dining hall and talk with for an hour or so. Instead, they decided to treat me to a barbeque buffet which was over three hours of eating, talking, and laughing. I got to see these students in a relaxed environment and learn lots of things about and from them. This introvert was exhausted after all of that in one day but I’m glad I didn’t miss any of it even though the events were different from my expectations!

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      Amy April 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it such a gift when we can see so closely to the event the pay offs :)

  2. LeAnne April 19, 2013 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    One of THE most important lessons I have learned in China is exactly this. A Chinese young lady, now a senior, who you may have heard me talk about, was given to me as a gift, but I originally saw her as an obstacle. I remember a meeting Wendy, Maegan and I had to discuss “what to do with her.” Feeling a nudge that I had more patience with her than Maegan did (not true in all things), I sort of saw it as taking one for the team. How wrong I was, and, oh, how many blessings I have seen! If I’d come to China for no other reason than her, it would be worth it. And I could have missed it.

    • Mark Allman April 20, 2013 at 3:41 am - Reply

      Sometimes I believe it can be for the one. I am glad you nor her missed it.

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        Amy April 20, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

        LeAnne, I’m with Mark :) … glad you didn’t miss this!

  3. Soundra April 19, 2013 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the reminder. As a Mom, I get bogged down in the mundane of daily things. Time does march on and our kids will go with it so I need to savor the time I have.

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      Amy April 20, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      It’s all too easy to get bogged down, isn’t it? :)

  4. Hepuni Kayina April 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    Two semesters ago in one of our team’s Tuesday night Open House (visiting with students in our apartments) I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about chatting that evening and even less happy with the way one of the students was being cynical(so I thought then) about almost everything related to the topic of faith being discussed. Fast forward to today, the 19th of April, I visited this student in his newly rented apartment rejoicing with him over his growing relationship with Father! And I could have missed it had I not gone ahead that evening long ago and said to him on an impulse,’You seem to have so many questions. Would you like to talk more about it?” or something to that effect.

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      Amy April 20, 2013 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      This is a beautiful glimpse behind the curtain, Hepuni. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us!

  5. Mark Allman April 20, 2013 at 5:11 am - Reply

    I do think extraordinary is always birthed from ordinary if we are faithful in the ordinary; that we give those day to day things the attention they deserve. It is those ordinary things we do that add up and if we are willing to do those for others they can turn into the extraordinary.

    In the past I have written people notes on how I appreciate how they do their jobs or live their lives. Sometimes I write them and mail a hand written note when they retire. A couple of years after writing a note like this to a guy I had work with early in my career I was in the same waiting room at the hospital as the guy and his wife and I overhear her say “oh he’s the guy that wrote you that letter”…..

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      Amy April 20, 2013 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      Amen, amen, amen! I love knowing you are “that letter guy!”

  6. Rhonda April 21, 2013 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Soon this school year will be coming to a close. In the last little bit, t I keep thinking how I won’t see many of my grade 11s again. I only got to be with them one year and feel that is hasn’t been enough time with them. Then the Father reminds me it was his plan for when I was to come, meet them, and be where I am. I keep this in mind for every encounter and time spent with my students. And I know I could have miss this, if it wasn’t for Him. :)

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      Amy April 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

      You know my take on the end of school years. Meh! I hate them :)

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