A Time to be Patient
By Rev. Alan Mead
After breakfast this morning, while I was lingering over my third espresso, Emerson, our three year old grandson came back to the table with hands and arms filled to overflowing with small cars and trucks. He proceeded to set them on the table in front of me and began moving them around the table, all around my espresso cup. I gently moved the cup and watched him play.
I asked him about one of the cars, a sleek race car with adjustable suspension. He went on in detail about what kind of car it is and I confess I don’t think I understood two words out of several wonderfully constructed sentences. He sidled up and then started to nudge onto my lap, saying he wanted to sit with me.
My mind went back to a photo of an elderly man with with his grandchildren. I remembered a comment made by his wife about how infinitely patient he had become. Infinitely patient. Those words and that image flashed through my mind as I helped Emerson up and made room for him and all of his toy cars and trucks, totally displacing everything I had been doing.
That became for me a moment to treasure. Perhaps more importantly it was part of the nurturing that will eventually help a boy grow into adolescence and adulthood knowing that he is loved and respected. As he settled in and continued playing with his toy cars and chatting away, I thanked and praised God for this moment, as I recognized it was a holy time.
Patience does not come easily or naturally to me. I am fairly competitive and have a history of being single minded to achieve my goals. I have always put in significant effort, study and planning and can’t say I have been patient when things don’t go my way. As I have moved into that time that is well past middle age I have been gradually finding more time for prayer, meditation and those I love. As my time remaining decreases I find my capacity to wait, to be in the moment, to be patient, increasing.
Infinitely patient. Probably an impossibility for anyone. And yet being present, whether to a grandson or to a congregation, without anxiety, with a willingness to listen and wait, is a gracious invitation to develop and thrive.