One of the many reasons that I believe in traveling is the sheer amount of lessons that I learn from the cultures that I spend time in. I am so often challenged by the people that I meet, the way that they love, the way that they treat others.
This is the story of Sri Lanka, in which I learn just how stingy I really am.
Whether it be with money, with time, with generosity in general, it was made clear to me how often I consider my own needs, my own schedule more important than those around me.
There are many wonderful things about the good ole’ US of A, and the longer that I live abroad the more I come to appreciate the land of the free and the home of the brave. But one of the things that we, as Americans, are really good about (bad about?) is having our time planned out. We are efficient, we get things done. And that can be great.
But in prioritizing efficiency, I often miss the opportunity to bless others. Because I have a full schedule and am highly motivated to stick to it, I don’t take time out to serve others. Unless there’s a gap in my schedule. Too often, plans come first, and people come second.
While in Sri Lanka, I was blessed with different perspective on priorities.
We made good time driving toward our safari on our first day of traveling, and our driver told us that a brother of a wife of a friend lived in a near by village. Naturally, we would be more than welcome to swim in their lake.
We loved the opportunity to get to see a bit of normal life, and hung out on the beach and in the water for an hour or two. One of the women even came to hand wash her clothes while we were swimming!
On the way past the house and along the trail to the lake, we had seen some vegetable plants. Our driver explained what was growing there – some sort of root vegetable similar to a potato. As we dried off and prepared to leave the lake, he told us that the family would like to prepare some for us so that we could try it.
Upon reaching the house, we found a beautiful table set for us in their home (which they had been building by hand for 17 years!) and a full, home-cooked lunch awaiting us.
We had never before met this family and will likely never see them again, but they took time (and resources!) out of their busy day to bless us in a way that we will forever remember. As we looked back on our trip and the country of Sri Lanka, that simple afternoon was consistently mentioned at the top of our list of favorite memories. In inviting us into their home for an afternoon, this family made such a lasting impact on us!
I’m not, by any means, saying that schedules and plans are all bad. I still love efficiency. But I do want to work on properly aligning my priorities regarding my own plans for my life and the opportunities that I have be bless those around me!