by Laura Passard Yurko
Being a parent of a two-year-old is like a doctoral program in patience. I ask her to pick up a toy and put it away or to "come here, please" and instead of just doing it, there's a very curvy line that follows until she finally reaches her destination. Something catches her eye and she needs to stop and inspect or she wants to do a jump or a turn along the way. She insists on doing everything herself and since she is still learning how to coordinate her movements in the right order simple tasks take exponentially more time. If I were to do them they would take less than a minute. But, I need to let her do these things on her own: changing her clothes, putting on shoes, moving the chairs, putting away books and toys. My job is to give her those opportunities, no matter how long they take. And so I wait. (...deep breath...) And wait. (...deep breath...) Calmly. Patiently. The most patient I have ever been in my life.
The irony of course is that as much as my daughter insists upon my patience, she herself is not very patient at all. So, we practice patience. It starts small - I delay giving her something she's asked for. Just by a minute or so. I intentionally do not give her what she wants right away and sometimes she'll need to remind me or ask repeatedly in order to get it. Sometimes she knows up front that she'll need to wait for a while which is probably the most challenging. In this situation the best way to get her to persevere is by engaging in another activity. Sometimes she gets frustrated, which is understandable and tolerated but I don't give in to a tantrum or whine. I'm trying to give her the skills she needs to wait calmly and to trust that after that period of waiting she will get what she wants.
That is the message of the Gospel this week. Patience. "Waiting and Faith are connected. We can wait patiently when we have faith that the outcome will be worth the wait, when we understand the reason behind the waiting. Often our impatience with waiting has more to do with doubt and uncertainty than with the time itself." (BHTW) I am often anxious about what lies ahead for me and want to plan my way through that fear and anxiety. I have a dream or vision in my heart and I want so desperately to know what the steps are to see it come true. But, I can't know everything all at once. So many factors are at play, so many lessons need to be learned - that's Life. And, so, that's what I occupy myself with while I wait. I breathe deeply, quiet the worry, and pay attention to what is happening everyday, trusting that when the time comes for a big decision to be made I'll be ready for it.
Reflections inspired by our weekly faith sharing and fellowship.