Waiting Is So Wrenching

Above all, remember that God looks for solid virtues in us, such as patience, humility, obedience, abnegation of your own will – that is, the good will to serve Him and our neighbor in Him. His providence allows us other devotions only insofar as He sees that they are useful to us. St. Ignatius

I have, over the decades, mentored many young men who are just getting started in life. We often talked about starting careers, ministries, families… and character building. So the the phrase “Oh, impetuous youth!” would often silently cross my mind. It seems, though, that impatience is no longer saved for the young anymore.

If you have grown up in the digital age, you have grown up in which things move at the speed of electricity – which is pretty darned fast. When I was a youth and I wanted information, I would go to the library – that is until Dad bought the family a set of encyclopedias! The time it took to retrieve information went from several days to several minutes! I was amazed and spent hours looking things up and reading interesting entries. Now, however, the answers are literally seconds away.

We have become accustomed to things moving fast… and some things do… but some things do not. Wisdom is seeing which are which. So many of the big things in life we seek simply take time – relationships, a good education, building a family, building a business or a home. If we become impatient, the problem is not the process – the problem is the perspective. Some processes can be speed up (although in many cases it is not for the better) but some, like hard boiling eggs, just take time.

Step back and look at the big picture. Take the perspective of your whole life and see the process as just one sliver of what you will be doing in life. When I was a young boy – first grade-ish I think – I was up very early and playing barefoot in the wood behind the farmhouse. While running around barefoot, I stepped on a board that had a long nail sticking out and this nail penetrated my foot…and it went it all the way. I sat on the ground and cried in pain but knew immediately that crying out for help would have been useless, Everyone was still asleep and a long ways away on the other side of the woods. I tried to pull the nail out but that only succeeded in increasing the already excruciating pain. What was there to do?

I sat back and thought about my whole life. I considered that when I was an old man – grandpa old – and looked back over my life, that this event and this pain would be of very little significance. When I sat back and thought about that, the pain lessened. I lessened enough that I was able to get up and step on the board with the other foot, extricating the nail.

Perspective is the viewpoint we have. If you view your current state from the perspective of your entire life, your current wait is just not that long.If you view your current problems from the perspective of eternity, they may mean very little. Learn Patience, Grasshoppa!

If you would like to communicate further about this or any other issues, please email me at jimshaul@gmail.com and we can chat.

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For His glory,


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