Ash falls from the sky again. Wildfires burn, and the sun glows an eerie red-orange. Temperatures soar in the triple digits, but it’s strangely humid, and I hear a hurricane is coming our way. With the moody skies and the strong winds, there’s an energy blowing about that fills me with excitement. Something is coming. Something is around the corner. I can feel it.
But by the time the hurricane comes to our region, it’s mellowed out to a quiet rainstorm. The tiny drops wet the ground but aren’t enough to satiate its thirst after too many months, even years, of drought.
The anticipation of something exciting peters out, and it’s back to the muggy state of things. And I feel it in my soul. Even though I know change takes time, even though I know it’s not guaranteed, even though I know there is goodness in slowness, I get antsy, restless. I become bored and lethargic.
From where I stand, I see a long road ahead, like a highway in the desert going to who knows where, and I get discouraged.
This is in relation to so many things in my life right now — in parenting, when I’ve tried and tried to teach my kids to be kind to each other and they continue to fight; in diversity, equity, and inclusion work, when it’s unclear if the goals will get us to where we need and want to be; in healing, when the layers of childhood wounds don’t seem to have an end; in art, when success (and what does success even mean?) feels rare and the path to it is vague and fuzzy – and will the effort, time, and commitment lead anywhere or result in anything?
I’m impatient for things to be completed, for change to happen, for signs of life, and though I don’t expect those things to happen overnight, my timeline for them is a lot shorter than is realistic.
We can wax poetic about the beauty of seasons, but when urgency rings incessantly in our faces and the message of our Western North American culture is to do everything right, right now, it’s hard to know how to embrace the organic pace of growth.
Anytime I feel stuck in these conundrums and questions of life, I try to think of how God might view things and discern the truth through Divine eyes. If we experience time as God sees it with the perspective of eternity, then the long road ahead that seems to lead nowhere isn’t something to escape but rather a path of grace. Grace to grow at the pace that is necessary and unique to each of us and our circumstances, grace to account for the mistakes and distractions we will face, grace to be patient when things seem to still and slow down or life takes a different turn.
And perhaps even the endless length of the road is a grace because when we’re with the One who loves us, urgency loses its power, and meaning is created out of love instead of productivity.
Seeing from this perspective settles my soul, and I breathe out the restless energy that’s pent up inside me. My fretting wanes and hope parts a way through discouragement to bolster me again.
On a recent drive from Southern California to Las Vegas, I marveled over how the once burnt hills of black shrubbery were now vibrant with life and how the desert landscape was greener than I had ever seen it before. I dangerously took picture after picture because I wanted to remember this miraculous view. The wildfires had burned years before and the desert had always been the same old brown, but as I drove down the long road, I witnessed what time and water had done. And it dawned on me, Yes, this is love. Love is patient. There is no hurry with Love.