It's a Process

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's A Process

You hear this phrase all the time in Ethiopia. "It's a process." In English. Just like that.

Someone will be speaking Amharic, a local dialect, and then say in English, "It's a process."

a very popular phrase in say customs or immigration as you might
imagine. But it's something that pervades or permeates the culture.

a giving in to or relinquishing power to the idea that forces are in
play beyond our control. It's something that in a developing country is
ever present. It's something ever present in a developed country too.
The difference lies in our perception.

Ethiopia water and power are commodities that can come and go. In the
US, transportation is a given, but we are unable to control say the
number of accidents on I-95 or a downed train on Metro-North. We think
we can. But we can't.

In Ethiopia, the thinking is this too shall pass.

in Connecticut the thinking is I can drive illegally on the shoulder or
honk loudly enough to change my outcome. The truth is we are the
victims of time. Time is killing us. Literally.

a process." It's said with resignation. It's not that people in
Ethiopia are giving up. It's that they have enough experience with
delays in customs or downed Internet or traffic accidents to know that
they may very well end up spending hours in a day not doing anything

For an American, this would be painful. This would require Tums or Prevacid. Americans can't wait.

lesson I am beginning to learn as I get older, is to look at the
continuum. Things take time, even though time is what we lack.

we have the time, if we think of life as a process. We don't have
forever. But we have years. Years to change our health. Years to work on
our marriage. Years to become whatever we dream.

It's a process. Maybe the most valuable lesson I've learned lately.


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