At one of our recent Wednesday knitting clubs I was visiting with my friend Deborah. I was telling her about why I chose to take this year off from full-time teaching…
My primary goal was to make time for helping our kids adjust to living in a new city and state. I also knew there would be hoops to jump through to get my teaching license transferred. Finally – and this was reasoning that I perhaps knew all along but didn’t admit to myself until lately – I craved some prolonged moments to myself. I wanted strings of days that did not involve graduate school or false hope for a classroom of my own. I needed time to daydream and figure out what floats my own boat!
Deborah told me that I reminded her of a story she heard about people in Africa who needed to let their souls catch up. I did some searching and found the story in several places, but the sweetest version is here:
It is said that a man ventured into the inhospitable lands of Africa. Only his porters accompanied him. They each carried a machete in their hands and they made their way through the thick vegetation. Their aim was to keep going at any cost.
If a river appeared, they would cross it in the shortest time possible. If there was a hill, they quickened their pace so as not to waste a minute. But suddenly the porters stopped. The explorer was surprised. They had only been walking for a few hours. So he asked them: “Why have you stopped? Are you already tired after just a few hours walking?”
Then one of the porters looked at him and said: “No sir, we are not tired. It’s just that we have been moving very quickly so we have left our soul behind. Now we have to wait for it to catch up with us again.”