Timing is a really bittersweet, weighty, wonderful word I think.
And I think a fat temptation this life has to offer is to compare our timing with someone else’s, or to wish our timing today away for different timing. (This is about to turn all to rambles, so buckle your seat belts or step outside, please. Thanks.)
I think if you’re a human and experiencing life, probably at one point or another, you have wondered and wished about your timing, or the way it lined up compared to someone else’s. I don’t know how you wouldn’t, even if it’s only a little tiny piece of you. It’s part of this life!
We crave connection. We love the comfort of being on the same page with those we love.
Maybe you wished your friends weren’t getting married while you were still single, or maybe you wished your friends were married too, so they would wanna hang with you and your person/wouldn’t hang out without you. Maybe you’ve wished to be retired earlier, or maybe you’ve wished to be employed in the job you actually wanted.
Maybe you’ve wished you were at the stage in life to buy your own house, but you’re not there quite yet. Or maybe you wish you were dating, but that’s not where you’re at right now. Or you wish you were done with school. (HOLY CRAP, do I wish I was done with school sometimes.) Maybe, you’re trying to have kids and it doesn’t happen as quickly or in the way/time you’d like. Or, all your friends are starting to have kids and you know it’s not the right time for you. I could go on and on forever, but let’s not sit down to do that today, eh? I THINK YOU GET THE POINT.
For me, school tends to be the biggest one but there are always little temptations.
Two weeks ago, we were trying to get to the gym for the night, and the few errands we had for the drive to the gym somehow blossomed into being a two-hour rodeo. By the time we made it to UVU campus, it was dark and wet, and the gym was closing in about 45 minutes. After our workout, we were walking to our car when someone about fifty feet away called out to us. He was very confused and asked for help finding the bus stop. After hearing his accent, we asked where he was from. He told us he was from Nigeria and had only been here for two weeks attending college.
Noticing his phone was at three percent, we offered him a ride instead of risking him missing the bus and being stuck in the cold wandering all night. We learned that his name was Precious and that he’d never left home before. He said Provo was huuuuge and confusing! He reminded me of so many friends from my mission. On the ride, his nervousness melted away (because who wouldn’t be nervous in a car with strangers their first time in a new country… am I right?) and we got to talk to him about church and laugh with him a bit.
When we dropped him off and he and Cody exchanged numbers and Code offered to help with anything he needed to adjust to the move, I felt the kind of warmth life lessons bring, tippity-tapping against my heart, you know? As frustrating as it was having our night turn into such a hot mess and pushing the gym back for hours, I recognized that without the seeming “delay” we would never have met Precious, and he might not have had a ride home.
And I marveled at the beauty of timing and most importantly, how the delays, speed bumps, or accelerations in our timing allow us to connect to different people. It amazes me how important each of these people can become to who you are and how you feel. I wouldn’t have traded an earlier night at the gym or easy errands for laughing with our new friend from Nigeria. I also wouldn’t trade my four months in China, or my 18 months in Minnesota, all the friends I made and all they taught me, to be done with school sooner. I just wouldn’t.
And that idea, of your unique timing being to bring people and experiences you need/people who need you, into your life, makes it all worthwhile and enjoyable while it’s happening. No part of it is worth wishing away because it’s for a grander, more integral, interwoven experience. So I think the trick is, and lesson number one here — enjoy where you are, while you’re there. I think that’s the truest expression of gratitude and love for your life, the quickest recipe for a joyful life. I have many examples in my life who are SO good at that!
The next lesson came at the birth of our sweet little niece, Elette. One of our temptations with timing right now is to occasionally wish were at a stage of life to live closer to our families. We’re happy in school, we love our apartment, we love our ward, and we both have great jobs for which we’re really grateful. But we also have the cutest nieces and nephews and funny siblings that we really love. And we don’t see them at work every day or have the luxury of dropping by for twenty minutes midweek because of our location. So sometimes that means putting 500 miles on your car in a week, trying not to miss anything… :/ And sometimes it just means loving people so much that even though you love everything about your little life in Orem, you wish you could somehow move everything about it half an hour north. You know. Cause that’s plausible.
Most of the time, we’re pretty content, but with Elette being born soon, we started to feel the sixty mile gap. We have prayed for her in every prayer we say together and individually since we found out she was coming, by name as soon as we learned her name. And thinking about her every day, I think we have both been pretty surprised at how much we have loved this little person without ever meeting her. And also, how much we really wanted to meet her and be a part of that first day or so of her life.
We anticipated that we would probably see her a few days later than everyone else with work and school, and that was a little sad. But that’s our timing. That’s where we’re at right now. We live, work, and go to school in Orem/Provo, and it’s not our time to live super close to our families right now. So we tried to make peace with that.
But, with all the mercy of perfect timing, Elette was born on a Sunday when we were already up for a missionary homecoming, and we got to hold her the day she was born. And I really can’t explain how much that meant to us, silly as it may seem. And that reminded me of lesson number two, something I think the word family captures perfectly:
The truest expression of love and acceptance is connecting with others regardless of different timing or stages of life, never being made to feel apart or feel different, but sharing what really matters, which is the human experience. LIFE, man.
And holding little Elette, whose birth was perfectly timed for so many reasons, I felt the complete spirit of love and peace that newborn babies bring. I love her and she is part of our family. I know it sounds silly because she’s a tiny baby, but you could feel her sweet spirit and light, and I felt totally accepted. It didn’t matter that we have nothing in common right now besides our last name, because we were sharing the best kind of human experience, which is and always will be love.
And although I am so grateful we were there that first day, I know the love we felt would have been no different if the timing had been different. She still would’ve been our darling niece, and we still would have been family.
Real love makes timing, differences of life, and distance irrelevant. And I’m really grateful for that reminder. That someone being in a different place than me life-wise or location-wise or whatever-wise is no real roadblock in our friendship or love, no reason to feel distance or hesitation, no reason to feel bitter or misunderstood.
Timing is just timing. It’s different for everyone, and also perfect for everyone. It’s no reason to wish away the present, because the present is full of the gifts you need. It’s also no reason to feel distanced from someone or to distance yourself from someone. You don’t need to compare, resent, or put yourself or others in boxes based on your respective timing. You don’t have to do the same things at the same time as anyone else to feel close, because where there’s love, there is connection.