Ok...admittedly, I am not the most patient person in the world. (Reminds me, if you find the most patient person in the world, I'd loooove to pick his/her brain, but only if I can get an appointment right away.) I'm attempting to garden for my third consecutive year and I'd like to think I learn a little something each time. I'm learning when to start seeds indoors vs. outdoors, how often to water, and of course- how to protect your plot from ruthless animals like deer (oh- they are spiteful at times...you should have seen me cry after they ate my sunflowers. They just laughed and laughed.)
I thought I was learning patience too...but perhaps not. When my pepper seeds didn't pop up when I thought they should I began rooting around in the dirt...only to find that the seeds are beginning to grow just below the surface- assuming I didn't kill them in my act of poor judgement.
You've heard that patience is a virtue...but why is it really so important? What's the big issue if I want things sooner than later?
But then again, I wonder what else impatience can kill. I think the biggest thing I can think of right now is relationships. Do I meet someone new? Do I really have time to get to know my neighbors? What if it takes three more years before we are comfortable hanging out? Eh, maybe I should just stick with the people I already know. Should I bother to talk to the woman we see at the park all the time? If I knew that I could have an instant connection with people- I don't think it would be such a big deal. But I too quickly begin to mentally tally the time and investment it is going to cost me. Maybe it's why I'm such a stick in the mud many weeks- it's so much easier not to try to get out there and be vulnerable. But my impatient attitude ruins community.
Even the people that I am good friends with- what happens when I get frustrated with them, feel abandoned by them, don't see eye-to-eye on something? Impatience causes me to write them off, lash out in anger, avoid them, throw up my hands and say, "Well, I tried. But that friendship is clearly going nowhere." Within my own family impatience is my enemy- I am short with my kids instead of seeking to understand their world, or I sense that my husband is angry with me (because of some innocuous look he gave me) and my first thought is not to talk it out, but to storm off in offense. I don't want to take the time to ask a few questions of him- I don't want to deal with potential angry feelings on his end- I want everything to be better instantly.
Here is an interesting passage: Colossians 3: 5-14
"5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
There is this list of things we are supposed to be getting rid of in ourselves..."lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, lying", etc. Then verse 12 almost seems to give the cure for those problems- "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" along with "love" in verse 14. How true is it though- greed can't coexist with compassion and humility...anger and rage certainly cannot coexist with patience.
Perhaps when I'm tempted to downplay patience next time, and act like it's not such a big fault, I should consider the weeds that grow faster when patience isn't around...anger, selfishness, even lust or greed at times, and loneliness.
So I'll sit around and wait for those pepper plants to pop up at whatever time seems convenient for them...and maybe they will be my reminder to pray every day for more patience.