After a short three hour drive to Jandowae the first thing that I noticed hopping out of the car was that almost automatically it felt as if life had somehow slowed down. The distinct din of the city was gone and the background silence was punctuated by the call of birds and the occasional car. There was time to breathe and the air was undoubtedly fresher.
The rhythm of country life is somehow deeper and more pronounced. Time is measured in seasons and years and generations as opposed to our overcrowded city diaries and commitments which have us moving at the flick of a switch.
But life is lived differently in the county and it has to be lived this way when the slow wait for the rain to come lags from months into years. Life has to be lived this way when the distance between friends in often hours. Life has to be lived this way when help is not just around the corner and booking in at the dentist or the doctor is not about next week but sometime later in the year.
I think to myself, mayhap these distances in time provide a deeper faith through longer reflection and more time for prayer.
These differences in city and country life were brought home most poignantly when I shook the hand of one of the older farmers. His hand dwarfed mine with fingers the size of pork sausages engulfing mine as if mine had been swallowed by an old tree stump.
The tough bark of his hands gripped mine in fellowship but as we broke hands the man rolled my palm over and his as well to compare them.
His worn hands were cracked and scarred with time and labour, criss-crossed with a network of blackened lines with stains that ran too deep to wash out. My hands are smooth and pink with just the hint of creases from holding pens for too long.
Then in a moment of grace he declared in a soft but firm voice ‘Different hands working for the same Lord.’ If this were all that had happened in this moment the whole trip was made more than worthwhile.