When we moved into our home nine years ago, I tore blank fly leaves from hundred year old books, loving their aged and yellow tones. I hand-lettered the names of the fruits of the spirit, one on each worn page, and framed them. All nine still stretch across our kitchen, reminding all who live here what kind of character the Holy Spirit is building in us.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience....
And which frame was it that constantly tilted off-center to the right? Patience. And how many times did I have to haul over a chair, climb onto it, and reach to straighten it? Too many to count.
In exasperation, I purchased a product that promised to keep frames from moving around on the wall. It wasn't until I was on the chair once more, using more than was necessary, that I realized God was speaking to my heart.
Patience was off-center on my wall because it was crooked in my heart.
I've had nine years of working on patience since that moment, my nine year old son standing in as a marker of time. Has patience grown in me as much as he has grown?
What do I do when the cashier rings me up wrong without an apology, me with two kids corralled in the checkout line? What do I say when my husband comes home late for the dinner I've worked hard on all afternoon? What do my eyes communicate when my daughter wants to tell me a long story in the middle of my project? What does my heart meditate on when God does not answer a prayer on my timetable?
And while I may have grown over the years, it wasn't until this summer that I finally had a breakthrough. It was while my husband and I taught the small ones at church that it happened. It was his turn to help them see, and I marveled at how he does it so well. So many pairs of eyes fixed upon their pastor wearing a silly hat and standing at the fruit stand of patience.
"Do you know what patience is?
Patience is knowing other people are special, too
And that was the key I needed. Because I really do know they are. And I want to treat them that way. I want them to know they are loved and appreciated when they look into my eyes.
When they give me incorrect change.
When he's made a mistake.
When she needs me right now.
When I don't understand.
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience...because other people are special, too.