Thursday, October 07, 2004

A time to live and a time to blog

It's in Ecclesiastes, I think. A time for all things under the sun.

Just because I don't have the time, energy or inclination to write something to the weblog, it doesn't mean that there is nothing going on in either my life or my head. I am reminded of something that happened long ago when I was in the Army.

During my off-duty time I taught English conversation to Koreans. What at first was just something to do became a passion after a month or so. I had two or three small groups of adults who were planning to study and work in America. As professionals, doctors and nurses mostly, they knew that conversational English would be more important to them than academic knowledge of the language. I also taught two groups of students from a high school. Today, I suppose they would be called a target group, because they had to come to school on Saturday or Sunday for the extra work. The school was empty, except for the fifteen or so students that came to practice their English.

When the time came for me to return to civilian life, I had time to tell them good-bye and talk about the future. I asked them if they would continue to write to me and stay in touch after I left.

One girl said, in what struck me as a prematurely wise insight, "You know, Mr. B, sometimes we need to do something. We know we have to do it. We have the time, and we have the knowledge. But something is not there. We can't find space in our heart to do it."

I knew that what she said was true. There was no negligence or hardness of heart involved, but I remembered all the times that I had not written to someone or done something, not because I didn't want to, not because I didn't have the time, but simply because I didn't find space in my heart to do it.

That was an important lesson. We all know it already, of course. But when it comes from the mouth of a fifteen year old child form a different country, speaking in a language that is not her mother tongue, the impact seems greater.

So that is why I am not blogging right now. There is not space in my heart.

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