More on Waiting
In my last post I asked for responses to what might be good about waiting, having offered a few thoughts of my own. A day or two later my older (and wiser) brother wrote me an email with his thoughts. Some of them were quite personal, so I have edited them a bit. But I hope that what I am sharing with you here is a close approximation of what he wrote.
His overarching suggestion was that perhaps the ability to wait is a side-effect of a life of contentment. He wrote that he was reminded of Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Paul, who incidentally is writing “in chains,” says that he has “learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” I will have to look up that text in the original language sometime, just to satisfy my own curiosity. For now however, a quick look at dictionary.com tells me that content means “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.”
Ok so I’m a failure at contentment, at least in certain areas. Maybe that’s why I hate waiting. And of course our culture feeds lack of contentment with the constant barrage of advertising encouraging us to be better, stronger, faster, prettier, etc. – now.
My brother used my father as his example of contentment. He is right. My dad rarely complains about anything. He takes what comes to him with gratitude and contentment like his own father did. Our grandfather was, according to my brother, the most contented man he had ever met. My brother remembered a time when he visited my grandfather in his retirement home. Home might be an exaggeration. It was (and now I am quoting my brother) a room with a bed, a chair, and a few personal belongings. When asked how he was, grandpa said, with noticeable honesty and sincerity, that everything was good. He had a good chair and everything he needed.
I remember my grandfather’s contentment as well, although not that particular instance. And my brother’s recollection put my own lack of contentment in bold print.
So I think I might practice waiting—being a more patient driver; being more laid back about people who are habitually late; being more willing to say to the person in line “no you go first.” (I want you to know that my immediate family is wondering right now why they have the sudden urge to fall out of their chairs laughing.) I’m not sure what other sorts of waiting I might have to do but I have some guesses and I’m pretty sure I’m not going to like it. But it seems a fair way to start moving toward the contentment that Paul talks about. And as my brother pointed out, contentment leads to the peace that passes all understanding, not just about salvation, but peace with God in all areas of my life, no matter the circumstances. That is a worthwhile goal to strive after. Thanks Carl!