(Originally written February 7, 2010)
My mom is from the island country of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies and anytime she referred to a place out of the way or in “The Bush” she would call it, “A place behind God’s Back.” Well, I live in Oman a country that I feel is behind God’s back. It’s a country of remote places, yet incredible cell phone coverage, but definitely behind God’s back. And, I’m in one of those remote places with 19 high school students. I’m on an annual school excursion called Discover Oman and the students and I are on a trip where we are discovering and learning about Oman’s cultural traditions.
It is also Super Bowl Sunday/Monday (depending where in the world you are) and most of the United States and many North American expats the world over, are engaged in the cultural phenomenon associated with Super Bowl Sunday. I would be as well if I had access to a tv or the internet. But, I don’t and you know what, it’s ok. I will see the game (Inshallah-God willing) when I return to small scale civilization that being the capital Muscat on Tuesday. What really struck me as I was interacting with local Omanis, hiking trails, exploring old villages, and interacting with students for which I am responsible, is that most of the world could care less about what many people find important or prioritize. To quote the opening chapter of the Biblical book Ecclesiastes, “Everything is meaningless,” Ecclesiastes 1:2 and it truly is. Sometimes it takes one to remove him/herself from the trappings of their environment to re-evaluate their priorities, experience moments of clarity, and/or have an, “Ah-ha” moment.
It is now mid-afternoon on Monday, February 8. The game has long ended, the winner crowned, the MVP (Most Valuable Player) declaring that he is on his way to Disneyland, much food has been consumed, and many beverages imbibed. I am in a picturesque canyon preparing to devour a BBQ lunch with 21 other people who are oblivious to the fact that a sporting event with worldwide coverage has recently taken place. There is something nice about this. Our group returns to Muscat tomorrow but in the meantime, please don’t tell me who won the game.