Mister Rogers: Patience
"It takes courage because you risk your insecurity
by moving deliberately through the entire piece."
Ann: Good morning, Fred, thank you for stopping by.
Fred: It is my pleasure, Ann. We haven’t talked in a while, and I see you and many of your compatriots starting to worry about the pace of change – or the pace of any little project in your own lives. I have to say that I was blessed with patience, partly because it was a part of my family life and growing up, but today it seems to be wildly misunderstood.
Patience is not settling in for the long haul on the assumption that there is nothing more you can do other than keep your head down and hope that life and its troubles will pass you by.
No. Patience is not passive. Patience is quiet, but it is relentless. Think of music. Yes, I know that is an odd concept to pair with patience, but when you listen to music, you don’t just jump to your favorite part of a melody or your favorite line in a song.* It takes courage because you risk your insecurity by moving deliberately through the entire piece.
And this is because it is not just the snippet that touched your heart that is important, it is the buildup, the laying of the ground work, and the development of the context that allows that snippet to be revealed to you in all its power.
We go through our days trying to get to the end of the story. Skip all those pesky descriptions of sunsets or seedy towns or the particulars of a room or garden. And then in our impatience we wonder why we do not understand what is happening to us.
I am not suggesting that patience will unlock the keys to the universe for you right now because, when we are in bodily form, we have agreed to let our memories of other times and places fall to the wayside just for the brief span of this short lifetime. But patience will bring us, if not precise memories, at least an inkling of the larger context in which all of us live.
And that context is love. Patience gives God the time to reach our hearts with his majesty, his silence, and His utter caring for us and for each of His creations. When you take the time to live through and notice the stepping stones in your life, you will feel that love envelop your being and give you the patience to work out your own role in God’s universe.
So take a moment and savor the journey. Try not to move to the head of the line or skip to the end of the book. When you find your thoughts rushing on, do what you need to do to slow them down so that you can see and experience the space between these thoughts, for that is where God lives and is waiting for you.
Thank you, Ann, for the privilege of being welcomed here. I am sending you all the love and liking that I knew was waiting for me here and which enlivened my life on the planet. Slow down and you will feel it too.
November 22, 2020
*I am reminded of the Readers Digest recording of Great Themes from Famous Music with the tag line, Saves Hours of Needless Listening!