Fourth post — time for true confessions, right?? Sure, why not!
Love is Patient
A while ago I did something that I have never done, as far as I can recall: I told God I hated him. Out loud, and with feeling.
I texted my husband and told him what I had done, in case I got struck down by lightning or hit by an unexpected bus. I wanted him to know, on the off chance I kicked before I got right with God again, that he might need to pray real hard for my soul. His calm response to my text was, “Well, you’re not the first.”
True, but it was a first for me. And it brought an image zooming to me from across the years, something I saw long ago and have never forgotten.
It was fifteen years ago at a mother’s meeting. My first child was a baby in my lap, and I was looking at some of my friends on the floor with their toddlers. I was watching in particular a close friend of mine who was ten years younger than I was but was in the same life stage as me – her child was maybe two years old.
I remember that the child was sitting on the floor and the mother was kneeling next to her. The mother was gently disciplining her, maybe taking something away that she should not have, and I saw the child hit the mother in anger. I remember this distinctly because I had not really seen a child act in that way up close before, and I was very curious as to how my friend would handle this little explosion of bad behavior. I had my own ideas, which seemed to me the right and proper way to handle such a situation (which, you realize, I had never actually experienced — my first child was a baby in my lap. Armchair parenting at its finest.).
Anyway, the little girl smacked her mother, and I watched my friend to see how she would react, and this is what she did: nothing. She didn’t move. She was kneeling close to her small pouting child, her hands resting on her knees, her eyes fixed on the child’s face, and she didn’t move a muscle. She just gazed down at her misbehaving offspring – the very picture of patience.
When I beat on my steering wheel and told God loudly that I hated him, that is exactly how I pictured his reaction. Patience personified. Kneeling protectively close, gazing at me steadily, waiting for my little fit of anger to pass. Not punishing me for my reaction, but not ceasing to discipline me, either – just waiting. Waiting for the storm of human emotion to quit clouding my vision. Not moving a muscle, looking like he could kneel there for as long as it might take, just waiting – waiting, with great love and patience, to reconnect.