Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Allowing Time for Change


Early this morning I found myself in the back parking lot of the Jordan River Temple waiting for two of my boys who had gone to do baptisms. Ernie wanted to take TT for his first time and I thought that was a wonderful idea. With my DH out of town, I loaded Patch (we are off track) into the back of the car at 6:30 am with the boys and off we went. I parked in the way back so no one would wonder why I was just sitting there in my big comfy sweat shirt and pajama pants... Patch slept and I was able to read some uplifting words from Virginia Hinckley Pearce. These are her words and they really hit home to my heart this morning. I love tulips and am excitedly waiting for my lilac bush to bloom soon. Don't we all want to be the non-stop flowering wonder, ha ha!
"I stepped out into the backyard last night just as evening began to settle. I was just doing some taking and getting, turning off and closing down, when quite suddenly I inhaled. The scent of lilacs filled my whole body and hung almost visibly in the air. Everything seemed to gather around me, and I couldn't bear to go back into the house. Walking slowly around the yard, from garden to garden, bush to bush, tree to tree - I looked, felt, touched.
At first there was that quiet kind of reverence and then gradually I started gathering up sticks, tidying up and snapping off. I got a sack and a pair of scissors and started after the tulips that had been so breathtaking only a week before. Tut, tut. Here they were en masse, right in the front yard, stems pointing naked stamens into the air without their beautiful petal dresses. And next thing you know, they will have all of those yellowing leaves! What to do! Aha. I've seen those gardeners who carefully fold tulip leaves over and fasten them with a rubber band. That way, they can be allowed to send the nutrients back down to the bulb and yet passersby aren't offended by their less than spectacular state of being, and gardeners, in turn, can have a continuousely splendid looking garden.
I was just considering this tedious solution to my in-between garden, when I was overwhelmed with nature's metaphor. Nature doesn't work with on-off switches, or at continuously high RPMs. nature is organic. It cycles, it flows. There is an ebb for every tide, a time of retreat and gathering of strength for every time of flowering. This continuous ebb and flow is vital in order to renew the energy required for a continuing cycyle of life. And when it is interrupted, when the leaves are cut before they can become unsightly, the process is short-circuited. The bulb weakens and cannot produce the next season.
I sat down on the grass. Here was something for me. I have trouble with accepting the need for downtime. I want to be a continous switch, a peak producer with no valleys. I want relationships that get better continuously; I want to make cintinuous improvement myself with no temporary backsliding. I want to be able to jump up the minute after I am kicked in the stomach. I just don't want to allow time to recover and take in strength. I want to be a non-stop flowering wonder. And I want every one else to be the same. No waiting around, no retreating, no fallow non-productive times...
We want spiritual maturity, now. We want to be able to forgive immediately, to be submissive without a struggle, to understand without having to quietly study, ponder and live.
I looked at the tulips. And then I looked at myself and this world. It doesn't make any sense. What are we thinking? Instant and relentless isn't the way of eternity.
I've always wondered about the phrase "long-suffering." At first glance it seems to indicate that that being miserable for a long period of time is some kind of virtue to seek after. I don't think so! Then what could it mean? Perhaps "suffering" in this phrase could be interpreted to mean "allowing" as in "suffer the little chidren." Perhaps the Lord sees "allowing time, and allowing a long time" as a sorely needed virtue.
Could we allow time for our children to learn the lessons of life? Could we allow ourselves time to recover from periods of difficulty - time to grieve, time to heal, time to gather strength? Could we allow...individuals time to change and grow; relationships time to change and grow?
I looked at the tulip leaves again, beginning to yellow and wilt, and saw them differently. I can respectfully allow them some time. In fact, I can celebrate while I wait with them. My garden will gently call to those who walk by, "Pardon us, but good things are happening. We are gathering nourishment and preparing quietly for more glory."

Allowing time for things to happen sounds wonderful to me.

Driving home, with a stop to McDonalds, and a stop to the middle school to drop Ernie off, I enjoyed listening to TT's 12 year old words describe the beauty of the temple to his younger sister. This is a good day. I am glad I allowed for this time to happen with my kids.

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