I will admit it. I am not the most patient person in the world. For those who know me best, you might find that to be a surprise. The truth is when I know that patience is the tool that is needed to get to a certain outcome, I can be incredibly patient. Where I am not patient is in waiting for a direction to materialize.
It has been an interesting few weeks and months and you have all been witness to it. I have seesawed back and forth from alerting you to the fact that Holy Breadcrumbs was changing, then retreating from the every week writing to later re-committing to a weekly rhythm and, almost as suddenly, backing off again.
There is a part of me that worries that this is not a sign of good strong consistent leadership. But I know my style well enough to know that I lead more in the style of a Henri Nouwen than I do a corporate CEO. I prefer to lead by inviting us all into our deeper humanness that by projecting an impenetrable strength. My vulnerability and my willingness to expose it is probably my greatest strength. And this pandemic has definitely exposed it!
But, back to my impatience with waiting. I have no problem waiting a year to take a planned trip. What I struggle with is waiting for life to provide the right opening for a trip. Give me a date and I can wait a lifetime. Provide no date and no guarantee and suddenly my patience runs very thin.
One of my astute readers who has been watching my internal wrestling match tried to give me permission to back off by saying, “Write when you have something to say.” Two months ago I was there, but the lack of regular weekly connection was unnerving me in this time of imposed isolation. So I committed to write again, but struggled with having something to say—a problem this preacher very rarely has!
Romans 12:12 reminds us, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.” I do pretty well at the first and the third admonitions. I suck at the second one.
But, whether we are good at waiting or not, that is what this time calls for.
- We wait for this most recent Delta Variant to run its course;
- We wait to return to normal Sunday services and gatherings;
- We wait to see how much of life will be the same on the other side of this pandemic;
- We wait to see what our new reality will look like as we emerge from this pandemic;
- We wait to see how much the pandemic has changed our commitments, our personalities, and our passions;
- We wait to see how much our virtual reality has changed our relationships and our connections.
- We wait to see who we are once the veil of the pandemic has been lifted.
I promise that I will write when I have something to say. Until then, I will wait with the rest of you.
But it’s good for our character.
And it can be holy.
At least, that’s what I’ve been told.
By Rev. Brian Heron, Presbyter for Vision and Mission, Presbytery of the Cascades
This seems to be a most honest and straightforward expression of your inner struggle. I applaud you! Yes, yes.
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I would add: We wait without knowing what we are waiting for.
When I was writing and leading discussion groups about happiness, one of the things that became apparent is that we often hold our happiness hostage to some external circumstances. For example, we might say that we’ll be happy when we get a job, or retire. Or, to borrow from your post, when Covid no longer restricts us from doing the things we want to do. Or more to your point, when Covid no longer leaves us guessing about the timing of lifting restrictions. I’m reminded of the Bible verse that advises us to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances. It doesn’t tell us to give thanks “for” all circumstances, but rather “in” all circumstances. And to rejoice always, not just when our discomfort with uncertainty has been alleviated. This Covid period has given all of us a stark look in the mirror to see what our own individual challenges are when our comfort zone has been invaded by whatever we would rather keep out. Your honest reflections are a model and an inspiration to all.
Dear Brian – Maybe it is time for a “deep dive.” I recommend “The Lonely Man of Faith,” an essay by Rabbi Soloveitchek. I found his study of the creations stories helped me focus and then reflect out.
Keep on keepen on.
Bill Griffith Jr
Bill, Thank you for this and for your intuitive sense of needing to go deeper to find my way through the tension of this time. I will start with the movie of the same title and then dive into the essay, as time allows.