Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

Collective Time

What does the word waiting conjure up in your mind? Waste of time? Frustration? Irritation? Not most peoples’ favorite past-time in our fast-paced culture. However, Jason Farman, in his book Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World, entreats us to consider another perspective on waiting.

Instead of an “in-between time”, a loss of time, Farman suggests that waiting can also be viewed as collective time. Time that flows among us equally. While we are waiting in our own time, others are not in theirs; that everyone’s time

has value regardless of how differently they use it from us; that our impatience may be someone else’s easy pace.

Waiting allows time for reflection, a pondering of potential possibilities, or a time to let learning happen, an essential building block of knowledge. My students acquire their vocal and musical skills at different rates, both of us “waiting” for the “aha” moment to arrive. We share this time together, me investing in them as students and them investing in themselves and me as a teacher.

This idea demonstrated itself the other day when I stopped to help an elderly gentleman get across a busy parking lot to the sidewalk. The going was slow as he was using a cane and not very sure-footed. Waiting behind us was a woman who turned out to be a friend of mine I had not seen for awhile. It is as I write this that I realize the two of us became stockholders in these few moments of this man’s life as we shared in his real time experience. The pace of our time settled into the flow of his. Without this choice I would not have run into my friend. I would not have had a lovely visit with her. And together we would not have become part of the social fabric and collective time of a community of three.     

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