Originally Published in the 12/13/2013 Herald Connect | Engage | Inspire Herald Magazine https://heraldmagazine.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/a-lesson-in-patience/
By Alisha Bauman, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
One night my (then) fiancé and I decided to order a pizza. After waiting the amount of time we were told it should take, I drove over to pick it up.
The moment I walked in I realized they were super busy. The staff told me it would be a few more minutes. An older man who had just ordered his pizza turned to me and asked if he could use my phone. He needed to tell his wife when he would be home with food.
I gladly said yes. After he called, he sat down and got comfortable, while I stood and waited. He started to ask questions and make small talk. I gave brief answers, paying more attention to my order than to the man.
Within five minutes, he was talking to other people as if he knew everyone. He was having a great time.
Meanwhile I started getting impatient. Ten minutes had passed, and I still didn’t have my pizza.
The old man sat, relaxed and fine with his wait. I had a game of Monopoly to win at home! I did not have the time to stand around. The old man began talking to me again, asking more questions. I gave up my impatience and finally sat next to him.
I had been focused on the final product. We can get so overwhelmed with goals and final products that we miss opportunities God is calling or asking us to be part of. I had no important reason to get back home right away. There was no rush.
Last year, as we left from Spectacular, I heard many youth asking why Spec cannot be like real life. At Spectacular you can walk the sidewalks and say hi to random people or smile at them. Everyone is so friendly.
The world is not always as friendly. But in my experience with the older man, I was able to have a moment back in that kind of environment. Impatience is what keeps us from this experience daily. Life can be much easier if we do not interact with others. But easier is not always better. Sometimes following the easy path takes away opportunities to grow.
Maybe the finish is not always the point. What if our goals as congregations are just that, our goals? And what if creating and moving toward goals opens us to greater understanding of our calling from God?
As I got my order and went to leave, the old man stood, reached into his pocket, and pulled out two earplugs. He handed them to me. He said as a joke that they were for when my husband would annoy me.
For me, they have come to represent taking the time to shut up my own expectations and impatience and open my ears to the stories and voices of those around me, going where God is leading.