Patience may be a virtue, but it’s also a pain in the rear.
A friend of mine recently remarked that she was feeling slightly overwhelmed and a little downtrodden because she was seeing a number of people whose dreams and passions they were chasing attain said dreams (or at least come within striking distance of them) while she was stuck…waiting. Not really in a holding pattern or a rut per se, but more along the lines of wondering when the Golden Ticket might come her way, and realizing the cost and weight of patience, and the questioning – sometimes of self worth – that comes with the waiting (“Are my dreams good enough? Am I good enough to be dreaming them?”).
As I type this, I am currently suffering under some bizarre sinus/cold malady, more than likely brought on by the fact that the weather here in Columbia, SC keeps flip-flopping from “hey, snow is predicted” to “hey, it’s 71 degrees” within a matter of just a few days. Besides being darn annoying because I never know what to wear one day to the next, my body chemistry is totally thrown off by this coo-coo weather. And seeing as how I’m a stay-at-home dad, I’m not really afforded the luxury of being able to take time off from work for sick days.
Although, yes, if needed to or if I asked her to do so, my wife would gladly and willingly take the day off of work, since the “babysitter” would be sick and unable to work. I wanted to make that perfectly clear. Regardless, I historically have never – NEVER – taken the needed time for my body to catch up on the rest it needs, even when I just need to simply let the medicine that I ingest run its course through me. Part of the reasoning (or justification) behind this is that my toddler doesn’t really “get” the fact that daddy wants to or needs to lay down when all he wants to do is for me to jump with him like a “bunny hop-hop” for the umpteenth time today. But, to be perfectly honest, the larger reason is my own bleeping stubbornness.
Or, rather, my lack of patience.
I’m one of those people who is just too thick (skulled or skinned, take your pick) to admit when I need to rest. Almost without exception, every time that I fall sick, I will just keep going and going without giving myself time to heal. Nine times out of ten, this results in me either prolonging the sickness I have or me making myself worse. I expect the OJ, vitamins and over-the-counter meds I take to just heal me lickety-split so that I can get on with my life and not have to bother with giving myself the time I need to recuperate.
To be a patient requires patience.
This makes me think that there might be a little bit more to the idea of Jesus being referred to as the “Great Physician.”
Although I’d like to say otherwise, the reality is that in many ways, I still have a microwave faith: what I want, I want now. Hey, God – that deliverance from that problem that I prayed for? Now, please. Hey, God – that thing I asked for that wasn’t really all that selfish? Now, please. Hey, God – that dream I asked to be fulfilled? Now, please.
There have been too many times when I have tried to rush something along that needed more time than I was willing to give it. If I’m smart enough to know that if I open the oven while the cake is baking it will let all the heat that it needs out, why am I not smart enough to understand that whatever it is that I am trying to rush – a relationship, a dream, or a hope – also needs whatever required time to bake and come into whatever it is supposed to be. God knows I have wrecked far too many cakes…and relationships…along my journey due to my lack of patience.
I need to be honest enough with myself to admit that even if I had been physically present there at the time and had heard Jesus say He would be raised from the dead in three days, I’d have been tempted to rush into the tomb after two days. Not necessarily because I didn’t trust Him, but because I intrinsically lack the patience to have waited that third day for the ultimate Christmas morning.
What I have had to accept – begrudgingly – is that although my mind might be telling me that NOW, NOW, NOW is the season for when I should have “X,” and my spirit might be saying “Look at everyone else getting their own ‘X’s,’ so yours is just around the corner,” God has a different calendar than I do.
Because whether we’re talking about physical, emotional, or spiritual healing, time is needed for the healing to take place.
And the metaphorical, relationship and/or literal cake really does taste better if it’s cooked all the way.