Monday, March 24, 2014
Hurry up and wait
I am the baby in my family…the youngest of my generation on both sides of the family tree. Yes, there are advantages. Truly, I appreciate these advantages much more today than I did when I was younger…
But growing up? Everyone got to do things that I wasn’t allowed to do. The response to every request seemed to be, you can do that…when you grow up. To say I was impatient to be “grown up” enough to do things is a terrible understatement.
Looking back, I imagine I drove my parents crazy. I could ask mom but…no, I’d really rather not hear her take on my impatience. I’m sure I was a trial. It was a trial for me as well.
It seemed I struggled with patience and waiting at least until I was somewhere in my 30s. My guess is, I saw my children growing up so quickly and decided I could wait. Please. Amazing how quickly time passes from rocking a sleeping infant to hauling half the team to baseball practice to high school graduation. I learned to slow down and wait. Mostly.
These days, I find I am most impatient with myself or, rather, with becoming whoever it is God intended me to be. I am much more comfortable in my skin that I was in my early years…and, at the same time, I see myself as unfinished, not yet fully me. I’m curious about these next however many years and do have to sit myself down occasionally and remind myself to be patient…to trust and wait. At home and in my office, I have the words of Psalm 46:10 displayed as they have become my mantra..."Be still, and know that I am God." I need the constant reminder to be still...and to trust.
This morning, in a monthly leadership seminar several of us from our church staff participate in, I was introduced to the deeply mystical work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – French Jesuit priest, philosopher, paleontologist, and geologist (1881-1955). Our instructor shared this devotional, entitled Patient Trust, by Teilhard…and it struck a deep chord in me. May it do so for you as well.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability – and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you. Your ideas mature gradually – let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.
Only God can say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.