By Aliana Kernisan
How do I approach the idea of time as a Christian living in a traditional city in Haiti?
Growing up in a society where people your age tend to want to grow up too quickly, it is hard to fit into the narrative. The pressure to give in to certain things before the time is right is definitely easy, but being a Christian and being taught otherwise is also quite contradictory and controversial for a 10-year-old girl who is learning the difference between right and wrong. Being patient and trusting God’s plan is where patience comes in.
From a very young age, I always wanted to do all the things that my friends were doing. All of them had iPads and phones, and I could never understand the reasoning behind the fact that my parents just would not buy me any of those things! I would always question them about it, and their answer would always be, “You’re just not old enough.” Nevertheless, I was a stubborn child who did not really like “no” as an answer.
In the same manner, in the transition to my teenage years, all of my friends went out to really big parties that I would dream of going to. Knowing “no” would be the answer, I still went ahead and asked my parents.
Living in Haiti, everyone drives from a very young age and I have always had an interest in cars and anything similar. I've always wanted to drive from an early age, but thanks to my parents, I did not because I knew I would not be able to do so.
No matter how fast or slowly we want to approach time, it will not change for anyone or anything. No matter how often I’ve wanted time to go faster, it didn’t and it wont.
I have learned to accept, understand, and agree to the reasons behind all those “why’s.”
Every stage of life is meant to be taken at its own pace. As a Christian, I believe that God put us here to mature with time and with experience. We have to approach every stage of life and not want to skip some of them. Sometimes we tend to want to go faster than the time we ought to be going through. I have not skipped any stages in my life, not because I didn't want to, but because my parents would not allow me to.
In my culture, people my age are way more advanced than they should be according to their age. They like to go faster than time, or at least try to, and do things that they shouldn’t. They don’t have the maturity to do so, yet they do it.
Being understanding, I have learned to become more patient. It is one of the best things that I have learned to do; I feel happier and am appreciative of time. I have learned to accept the fact that my parents are only looking out for me so I don't have to face any consequences for not knowing any better. At 17 years old, I still sometimes get frustrated when my parents don’t let me do certain things, but I now understand. Time is beautiful. It is dependent and powerful. Nobody can go against time or even the idea of it. Time should be appreciated and adored. Because when she is not appreciated and taken for granted or gone through way too fast, the consequences can even be the end of one’s time. I see now that my parents were right. Some of my friends went a little too fast with life and ended up in very bad situations. Some of them dropped out of school early, and others ended up depressed and regretful. Some of those who started driving at an early age ended up with totaled cars, permanent injuries, and even fatal outcomes.
When building a relationship with God, I’ve learned to deal with time, to deal with things one at a time and not overload myself with the pressure to do something fast. The Bible says, “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you” (Isaiah 49:8). The Lord’s time is perfect, and trusting that it is, being patient, is the key to living a good life away from temptation.
At the time of writing, Aliana Kernisan was an 11th grader at Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.