Pastor’s Corner: Patience

A flower bud, not yet open.

February 24, 2021

I can’t remember the last time that I found it helpful when someone urged me to “be patient.”

I’m sure those who’ve heard it from me – kids, friends, cousins, worshipers – haven’t found those words all that helpful, either. Even if it was me that said them!

Patience is a curiously negative quality. That is, patience is frequently an exercise in not feeling things that one is actually feeling. I tend to wait for something to happen, or to stop happening, with a wide range of feelings. Excitement. Apprehension. Dread, at times. Joy at others.

Lent is one of those waiting times that summons up so many feelings. Some among us are probably wriggling with anticipation of the Easter Bunny’s visit, already nearly tasting the sweetness of chocolate eggs. Some among us have plunged into regrets and self-recrimination, taking Lent’s guidance toward repentance and feeling it deeply. Many, if not all among us are looking ahead to a time when COVID-19 vaccines will have been sufficiently administered that we can embrace one another again. To each of these, one might advise patience.

I would advise, however, that we feel our feelings rather than suppress them. The bounces of the child awaiting Easter morning are a joy in themselves. The regrets that come with our confession are feelings that we have to work through, or they will continue to mislead our decisions. The anxiety of waiting for vaccines is a reality of our life. Ignoring or denying it will not make it go away.

This Lent, let us feel the joy, the sorrows, and the anxieties. As we feel them, we can learn to breathe through our fears and make decisions those fears have not directed. As we feel them, we can set our sorrows into our past and recognize new possibilities in the future. As we feel them, we can focus our joy into smiles, laughter, and (with strength of will) sharing.

To anyone looking on who doesn’t know better, it will look like patience.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Photo by Eric Anderson

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on March 2, 2021

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