Saturday, November 30, 2013

Time and Travel. Time Travel?

Our trip is underway. We are excited, nervous, happy, panic-y, a million things.  Here's some of what we had to pack, along with clothes, gifts and toiletries:

 For the moment, more than anything, this trip  has me wondering about the mechanics of time.

We started out on EST time or GMT - 5 hours. Now we are in LA on PST or GMT - 8 hours. Next, we are on a plane for 24 hours and when we land we'll be 11 1/2 hours ahead of Boston. 11 1/2. I had to go looking for the reason for the 1/2. Of all things, it has its roots in the British Colonial Railway System in India. Despite it's large size, India has only one time zone, established well over a century ago to keep the trains running on time. Go figure.

Where we are headed, they don't acknowledge time zones established by England's Royal Observatory back in 1884. No reason they have to. They go by the Indian time zone. By the sundial, there is a 90 minute difference from the east side to the west side of India. We will be just east of the east side of India and so end up with the extra half hour.

Then there is the International Date Line. On the way over, we will skip an entire day. On the way back we get the same day twice. Jordan, musing on this, thought we would be traveling back in time on our way home. And, I suppose, into the future one day on the way there. Time travel. Well, in a manner of speaking.

Time --- today was the perfect time for a tour of LA, our guide told us.  A Saturday so we didn't have to contend with traffic. A day clearer of pollution than most. Excellent weather, though that is typical of LA. So we picked the right time to have our stopover. Our pre-tip adventure. Also, it's helping us adjust more slowly to new time zones and warmer weather -- timely advnatages. A real blessing to have this addition to our trip.

One final aspect of time I am deliberating on -- that day we will be missing is the First Sunday of Advent, the Christian New Year. So I will miss this low-key celebration this year. It makes me wonder -- does the New Year start for me, then? How does it change things that a day of the year - this day in particular -- will not exist? On one level, silly. The day goes on at home. I am on their time. But the overall celebration of Advent may be largely missing for me. It is a time of spritual preparation for Christmas and the Incarnation. My sense is that Baptists in Myanmar are nonliturgical and don't do much, if anything, to obsrve Advent. Plus, the worship services we attend will be largely focused on thanking God for the ministry of the Judsons 200 years ago. How will this change Christmas?

I don't know. Things may be different, but very worth it. To be with these brothers and sisters, to join in their celebrations of their spiritual parents, to see the place where Ann and Adoniram worked -- these are priceless, once in a lifetime opportunities, and I am deeply grateful for them.

What are your thoughts on time?

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