Patience

Sep 20, 2018

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

When I was born in 1961 fast food restaurants had been around for quite a while. However, for most people they were still an occasional quick fix to a busy day, and not a daily routine. It was very important in our family that we all were at dinner each night. It was rare for one of us to be missing, even when we were teenagers. When my nephews were growing up, the rare event was for all of them to eat at the same time.      

Throughout my life the fast-food industry has truly come into its own. Some nicer restaurants like P.F.Chang’s have their own “fast-food” spinoffs. Theirs is Pei Wei. Other restaurants, including P.F.Chang’s, sell some of their more popular dishes as microwavable meals. Eating is just one small example of the quickening pace of our lives. We also have drive-up dry cleaners and grocery stores and even liquor stores. The pace of our lives seems to be getting faster and faster. We seem to be in a constant rush to be somewhere else.           

One clear example of this is the number of people who seem to make it a habit to run stop signs and red lights. I would say at least 4 out of 5 times that I am out driving, I see someone run one or the other. Recently people were shocked to see the video of the guy driving on a lawn in order to get around a school bus. But the real sad thing is that it apparently isn’t a very rare event. I wonder where they are all going that they are in such a hurry to get there?           

Perhaps one of the best examples of the ever-quickening pace of our lives is all that we do on our “smart” phones. For many, it seems to have become an addiction, the phone never leaving their ear.  Even when we’re driving a two-ton vehicle at 70 mph, we just cannot put down our phone. The other day I even saw a school bus driver talking on her phone while driving a busload of children. Some people go so far as to text while they are driving, of course, everyone believes they are the one person who can do this and not be distracted. We simply cannot put that phone down. When I witnessed a particularly reckless driver the other day, the thought that jumped in my mind was how little they must value their life. People, who otherwise would be fairly cautious in a dangerous situation, seem to disregard their safety when behind the wheel.

I think the main problem is not that they are running late, but rather a lack of patience. We simply can’t wait until we get where we are going. Everyone in front of us is simply in our way. There also seems to be a sense that we are wasting our time if we are only doing one thing at a time, even if that one thing should be demanding all of our attention. Ask yourself, “How am I at just being still?” “Do I rest on the Seventh-Day?”        

I hear more and more people confessing the “sin of impatience” in the confessional. And when people get to the point where they recognize it as a sin they need to confess, then you know it’s gotten to a point where people recognize that it is a significant problem. But where has our patience gone? Why are we always in such a hurry to get some place else?         

I preached last Sunday on the topic that our faith must be “an action verb,” that we are “doers” of The Word. However, even God rested on the Seventh Day, and His Son, who had only three years to preach His Gospel, took time to pray and even relax with friends. All of Creation is a gift to us, a blessing, and we should take the time to enjoy it. Our God, and therefore The Gospel, is all about love. Well you cannot understand love unless you practice it, and the only way to practice it is to slow down and spend time with your family and friends. Not hurried and distracted time, but quality time where we have the time to invest ourselves into the lives of those around us. Likewise, our prayer time should be quality time, time where we shut off our phones and focus completely on our God, and not just squeezing it in while we are doing something else. 

In the Redeemer,

Fr Rick