I took my dog, Cami, to the park early the other day. With the heat, and her thick black fur, neither of us wanted to be out once the temperature started rising. We weren’t the only ones with that idea. Sitting at the top of the spiral slide was a toddler, clutching her panda bear stuffed toy, with a look of hesitancy on her face. She was clearly not in any hurry to go down this slide. At the bottom of the slide was her dad, encouraging the girl to come on down the slide. “I’ll catch you! I’m right here! You can do it!” I waved to her and offered a few encouraging words of my own as my dog took her own sweet time sniffing around the playground.
The girl stayed at the top of the slide for a very long time, not coming down but not choosing to turn around, either. I admired the dad’s patience. He didn’t get exasperated, he didn’t rush her, he didn’t get pushy. He just simply reminded her that he was right there when she was ready. After her panda bear took a test run (Dad did catch it!) she decided that feet first, belly down was the best option for heading into the unknown. She did it! Dad caught her at the bottom, she reunited with the panda, and there were smiles all around. Dad and I both cheered! Victory first thing in the morning! Do you know how long it took her to decide she could go down the slide? Exactly as long as it was going to take.
Our scripture from Sunday said, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” As Cami and I walked home I thought about this dad, and how fortunate this little girl was to have someone in her life who was clothed in such patience. It was the slide today, but tomorrow she will require a patient parent to learn table manners, how to read, how to ride a bike, and countless other skills. Sometimes the biggest act of grace we can offer each other is patience. Who has shown you God’s grace through their patience with you? May you give thanks today for those who have been patient with you, and may this fruit of the spirit grow in you.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
Lead us, Gracious God, and shape us by the grace of Christ and the inspiration of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts to expand our understanding of patience and self-control, that we may grow in our ability to reflect your love and grace to those we meet this day. All this we ask in the name of Christ, Amen.