My recent posts are starting to fall into a theme: waiting on God, trusting in the slow work of God, being patient, staying in faith.
Last night was a meeting of a group of women friends – we’ve been meeting on a semi-regular basis for over 18 years. As I thought about the things I would share with them, I realized how much of my life right now feels like waiting and trusting. That’s been the case for a number of weeks. My spouse’s health has taken a new, mysterious turn and the doctors are doing more guessing than diagnosing, so we wait in faith for a return to a more stable place. My novel manuscript has been for seven weeks now with the agent I most want to represent it, and I await his decision. The major project that has been the source of our livelihood for many months is coming to an end, and the questions are beginning about what will come next.
These are all important matters for our peace and security, and all of them are outside my direct control. But I take the steps I can see to take, and for the rest, I stay in faith, waiting and trusting.
Lately, the people who come to me to share their personal journeys are mostly in that place, too, of seeing avenues they would like to walk but that aren’t quite available to them yet and having to trust that God will open the doors that are right for them and keep closed the ones that aren’t. Maybe they are seeking me out because they sense that that is my journey too.
Yesterday an episode of Bones included an observation that went something like this: “It’s a barbarity that clarity is such a rarity.”
Since much of my delight comes from words, I stopped paying attention to anything else in the show and devoted myself to rolling variations of that sentence around and around my mind.
But apart from the clever sounds, the message hits home with me because of the importance of clarity in our spiritual lives. It’s tough to have clarity these days, with so much in the way of images, sounds, and messages coming at us nonstop. We have to find a way to be still long enough to process what’s come in, determine what’s real and meaningful, and absorb what is of value while discarding the rest. Clarity, once we get to it, enables us to know our own opinions, to say what we really mean, to be who we are meant to be. Many of us rely on our spirituality to bring clarity to the rest of our lives.
One avenue to clarity is meditation, the kind where you quiet your mind for long enough periods to come to rest in the cosmos of your soul; another avenue is prayer, the kind where you take your time and say out loud everything – everything – that’s on your heart and then listen to what response there may be. A common avenue is journaling.
Whatever your method, arriving at clarity makes your entire life work better. The rarity of clarity is a barbarity.
Recently on Twitter a great post by @Kekris provided me with a perspective on peace and patience that I’ve been thinking about ever since and want to share. This was her tweet, a quote from Adel Bestavros:
“Patience with others is Love, Patience with self is Hope, Patience with God is Faith.”
When I can’t always feel love toward other people, I can still (nearly always) muster patience toward them, and it gives me peace to know that that is a step toward loving them. It makes me more willing to try.
Patience with myself – I’d always perceived patience with myself more as acceding to a tendency to procrastination, and never viewed it as something positive. Maybe if I can see it as Hope, I can loosen that particular fight.
And patience with God reminds me of my previous post on “waiting for God,” which must be about the same thing because both suggest the quiet assurance (read: Faith) that God will come through, even if it takes a while.
How do you see these definitions of patience in your own life?