Patience, Hope, Action
I don’t think I was an especially impatient child growing up. Every kid finds it hard to wait, sure, but I don’t think I was anything out of the ordinary.
I’m not sure that I can say the same of my life now. As an adult, I tend to find myself constantly rushed. Jumping from one event to another, jobs to classes to meetings and back again, building in very little time for myself in between. My incessantly busy schedule combines with my anxious mind to make me always a little bit impatient. I’m not grading as fast as I’d like? Impatient. I have to wait in traffic for a minute when I’m already late to wherever I need to be? Impatient. My laptop takes thirty seconds to boot up when I’m meant to be doing my RAship? Impatient.
For this and other reasons, many of my prayers lately have resolved around the idea of patience. They all include some call, some plea; normally, they are stated with a sense of impatience themselves in the form of, “Please help, I need to be patient, like RIGHT NOW.” I acknowledge the irony, but think it makes me point just that much clearer. Put simply, I need to chill.
What makes it hard to “chill” is that I am impatient for not just little things like traffic or computer start ups, but bigger things, too. That’s what really gets me. I can take deep breaths and navigate the little moments, but what about the more existential anxieties and impatiences? What about my future relationships, careers, pursuits? How am I supposed to be patient when I feel the future tugging at me each day, pulling me toward a place I feel like I’ve been searching for my entire life? Do I just stop everything and wait? Do I even know what exactly it is I am waiting for?
I don’t, but I feel it, the same way I feel the cool breeze brush over my skin as summer comes to an end, bringing promises of cooler weather as fall approaches, subtle and uncertain, an underlying breeze that nudges my hope into action while simultaneously telling me to have patience. The breeze doesn’t signal fall, but the hope and the promise of a fall to come. It requires patience by instilling hope and suggesting action, like starting to switch from tank tops to sweaters.
Put more simply, I receive a small sign, the sign brings hope, which sparks small change, and still requires waiting to fully come to fruition. Thus, it becomes a cycle. Patience, hope, action… and more patience. Thankfully, patience does not equate to passiveness. I feel hope, I take time to learn and grow, and I wait. But I should be building as I wait.
Building intentional community even if it won’t be utilized.
Building a foundation for a home even if I’ll never rest in it.
Build, wait with hope.
Don’t wait for hope- wait with it.
Hope for things unseen, unimagined. Hope for things far greater than I could build alone.
What I really want is a quick answer, an “ah ha” moment, an epiphany, a voice note from my creator, a memo telling me who I’ll meet, partner with, what job I’ll get, if I’ll go back to school, how many kids I’ll have, where I’ll live when I’m done living here. But that’s not how life works, how my God does things.
There is no moment that you know. It takes many moments, years sometimes, and even then, certainty isn’t a guarantee. A call story isn’t made in a day, it’s a recurring call combined with a recurring choice. Waking up everyday choosing to go on, to be open to magic and walk humbly where you are called. Love is the same way, falling for someone over and over and over, until what started as moments becomes a lifetime overnight.
That is the kind of patience I have been practicing lately, the kind of hope I have been feeling, and the kind of small actions I have been taking. Maybe one day what I hope will all come to pass… or maybe it won’t. But I know that either way, my patience and little actions have not gone to waste.
Something is happening. Something is always happening.
And I know whatever it is, as long as I am willing to have patience, it will be as good as, if not better than, all that I have hoped for.