When I was in college I always said I would travel when I found time. Textbooks have now been exchanged from Dr. Seuss. Grabbing a latte has been replaced with grabbing sippy cups for my toddlers. The time to travel became a distant memory of a young idealistic mind. My adult mind was unable to comprehend the possibility of living with no regrets and refused to accept the challenge to live fully.
Then it happened. Time became my enemy. Time, or lack thereof, was the single focus of my day. Twenty-four hours simply was not enough. How can anyone do it all and still keep a smile on their face? This predicament lasted for many years. Each year my husband and I would dream of all the places we wanted to visit. Lamenting over all the fun we would have when the kids were older. Then it finally dawned on us. What are we waiting for?
July 4th 2013 our family of four boarded a plan to visit the land of time. Our goal was to return to the place where time has been forever changed. Over 2000 years ago one man walked the Earth with such an amazing mastery of time that his existence changed how we record time. B.C. is an abbreviation for “Before Christ.” and A.D. for “anno Domini” or “After Death”. Thirty-six hours and three airplanes later we landed in Jordan and spent 15 days following the footsteps of Jesus to Israel.
Two battle-weary adult and two sleep deprived giddy children stumbled into our first hotel at 1AM Jordanian time, a full two days after we left our home. Our lesson in time had already begun! Lesson 1: Sleep must occur within every 24 hours. When you try to stay up and function much longer than that, you end up laughing at hotel shuttle drivers until your side hurts. Or worse, you find yourself sleeping soundly with your head resting on the nice Palestinian man sitting on the shuttle with you.
It’s hard to believe how much time there is in a day when you turn your day over to a tour guide! Our trip started 8 hours after we crashed in the hotel. Moving along the desert plains of Moab in the heat of summer proved to be real challenge. The hot sun was relentless on Mt. Nebo, but the view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea was enough to make time stand still. In that moment, the hours on the planes, the airport hassles, and the language barriers were all forgiven. Lesson 2: Time cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be experienced.
The next day we journeyed up to mountain fortress of Petra. Our children marveled over the numerous caves along the path into Petra. We let them to ride on the back of a donkey up the 700+ steps to the monetary. Hours were spent in the dust and dirt. Leg muscles ached. Bellies were empty. Sweat poured down our faces. At the top we celebrated with bottles of water and rich local cookies. Sitting thousands of miles away from everyone we know, we found a place to simply be. No agenda. Our only goal, get to the top. We did it and it felt really spectacular. Lesson 3: Celebrating an accomplishment is never wasted time.
Jordan was a hidden gem of culture and adventure, but our journey had to move us onward to Israel. We entered the border crossing area and exited into a new world. The Holocaust Museum took us back to a time of great pain for a people and a nation. From there we visited Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives and then on to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is here that drops of sweat like blood fell. I’d never been under pressure great enough to produce this physiological anomaly, but I have been under the constraints of a life lived on borrowed time. Lesson 4: Spending too much of today focusing on the past or the future is a waste of time. Life is to be lived in the moment.
Our time in the land of time concluded at Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. We each took a turn looking inside the place where Jesus’ body had been laid. As I exited the tomb, I also exited my misunderstanding of time. Time was no longer my enemy, but a gift I was ready to enjoy. Time was an invitation to spend my days exploring all life has to offer, not for some far away date in the future but daily. Time was an offer I simply could not refuse. Lesson 5: Time is what you make it, so make it amazing.
About the Author: Saundra Dalton-Smith is a Coffee-loving, wife, mom, and grace seeker.
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