If you pray for patience, God will bring you the perfect opportunities to learn how to be patient. If you pray for humility, He will do the same. I know this to be true because every time I think that I need work on a virtue, I think that praying for it will be some kind of short cut to learning how to live that virtue. Ha. Ha. Ha. Life doesn’t work that way, and neither apparently does God. You see, anything that is worthwhile takes time. I have been remodeling my bathrooms. My experience at this is basically nill. I am not too proud to ask for help. I just cannot at this moment afford professional contractors whose bids could pay for a semester of my son’s future college. So, I pick the brains of my siblings and parents and friends. Sometimes, one of them actually helps me do something, like change out the sinks. Because bathrooms are small, it seems like they should be quick and easy to update. That’s a joke.
I remember the first house my husband and I purchased. It had solid bones but was definitely outdated. We spent the first few years of our marriage (before we had children) painting and updating that house. One of the first rooms we tackled was…you guessed it: the bathroom. It was more like a small closet. It also had lots of bump outs and wall surfaces. I chose a gorgeous vertical stripe wallpaper (popular back then) for the upper portion, and a solid dark blue paint for below the chair rail. It was during this project that I realized that my husband and I would stay married forever.
Why? Because every time we went to hang a piece of vertical stripe paper, it appeared to be diagonal. Not one single wall in that closet/bathroom was plumb. We started just “eyeballing” it, which worked until we hit a turn in the wall which was also not plumb. Our patience was increased by leaps and bounds throughout that project.
Fast forwards to today. I should have remembered all the time it took for that silly little bathroom when I undertook mine. One is completed (almost…there are always those nagging little details that need finishing up) and the other is 15% complete. I try to keep smiling and thanking God for giving me such a dose of patience and humility all in one project, as I scrub the tile with a toothbrush to bring back its original beauty. Tonight, I grout. Tomorrow, I install the toilet! Any well wishes and prayers are appreciated as I honestly have no idea what I am doing!
Our little garden is growing! I am so excited and so are the kids. You may think this sounds silly, but honestly, we put a lot of hard work into tilling the soil, clearing the tree roots and prepping the area so that our plantings would grow. And now they are growing!
Our past attempts at a vegetable garden ended terribly. First, I chose a section of ground that was too large for one gardener. Second, I planted whatever my children selected from the seed store. Third, I didn’t really spend any time reading what each plant needed. Fourth, I ignored the fact that bunnies and squirrels and birds lived throughout our back yard. Fifth, I didn’t see a need for fencing or protecting these plants, figuring there would be enough for the animals and us. Finally, my children were about 10 years younger and their patience level was much less, too. So I had no time to ponder and plan as they wanted to plant their seeds and right now! The concept of patience and waiting was not so well-developed in them at that time, as well as the concept of growth taking time.
The results of our first garden almost ten years ago was a small breakfast cereal bowl of lettuce with a few carrots–as in two. The rest of the lettuce was devoured by our bunny friends before it even grew much above the ground. The carrots were also uprooted. The pumpkin and squash vines grew all over the garden, making us guess that we would have a bumper crop. Somehow, pollination just didn’t happen. Our flowers never became pumpkins. Lazy bees? Sick bees? Who knows! But no pumpkins or squash. We also planted some sunflowers which the kids were certain would grow huge. Hmmmm, I don’t think they even started out of the ground. With all the work we did for that garden, the kids were not very enthused about a bowl of lettuce and a few carrots. In fact, I think I ate the lettuce!
Fast forward to today. We only planted herbs, but my tea has already been quite tasty with some fresh mint leaves. The kids are planning to make Signora Maria’s famous homemade Marinara Sauce with fresh basil from the garden. Only a few more weeks and we’ll hopefully have tomatoes. We have lots of other herbs that my “sous chefs” will find recipes for. It should be a tasty summer.
My youngest has been taken on official watering status. Although God has been providing a lot of rain, she stands at the ready to fill in when needed. Tiny weeds have started peaking through the soil. She and I will tackle those tomorrow, while we smile at the giant tomato plants that have already grown taller than their stakes!
The rain doesn’t care one drip about our emotions. In fact, it really has nothing to do with them from a logical point of view. However, put the rain into a context, and suddenly it has everything to do with our emotions.
One week ago today, the children awoke and pulled up the hourly forecast. Every website they could find predicted 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms. They were so sad! That’s when the cancellation email arrived–Field Day has been rescheduled.
This morning, my children cheered when the hourly forecast said 0% chance of rain for the afternoon. They were so happy! Why? It is Field Day and all the fun games in the world happen on Field Day.
Because we are in the midst of soccer season, I asked three of my children to pack their soccer uniforms and bags. We had to leave early from Field Day to make it to the other side of town for their early evening games. I also asked one to pack her tap class attire because her teacher begged me in the rain last week to try to make it to class.
At the very end of Field Day, it started to rain and lightning. Luckily, the organizers had hurried things along, so prizes had already been awarded. My kids were sad that it was raining again and Field Day fun was ended early.
As we rushed to the minivan before the downpour, and loaded in the car, my kids were happy to be headed to their soccer and dance commitments.
After tap class, we headed to the soccer fields where miraculously two of my children had games at the same time at adjoining fields! We arrived a bit early to the sunny fields and were planning our upcoming trip when the call came from my coach/husband. The games had both been cancelled because of the rain. My kids were sad that they were not able to play their rain out make-up games because of a rain out!
As I said, the rain doesn’t care one drip about our emotions, but boy does it keep us on a roller coaster sometimes. Meanwhile, all I could think was happy thoughts about not having to water my garden!!
My family went fishing today. My youngest had not yet caught a fish “in her entire life.” It was a gorgeous day for being outside. It was cool with a breeze, yet sunny. And this morning, the fish were biting! We were at a pond which is for catch-and-release fishing only. I was okay with this since I realize I would have been the one to clean the fish if we had planned to eat any.
My son seemed to have the lucky fishing pole. As soon as his line hit the water, there was a fish on his hook. This started as amazing, but quickly became unbelievable to the rest of the family. While my daughters continued to cast away with no results, my son just kept reeling in the fish. We lost count after 14. I tried to explain to my other children that there are no guarantees with fishing. Sometimes, you catch some, sometimes you don’t. It’s a great lesson in patience.
Of course, the youngest was not pleased. She moved to a different section of the lake and tried to cast further into the deep. She so badly wanted to catch a fish that she decided to give it all she could with her next cast. And that’s how she accidentally cast her entire fishing pole into the lake. Thankfully, her line had a bobber, so we could see exactly where her pole was located. Also, the wind was blowing towards us which meant we might have a chance to recover her pole. Sure enough, another family who was with us managed to “catch” her pole and bring it into shore safely. She went on to catch 4 fish of her own.
All this fishing made me think of St. Peter. I bet he loved the outdoors. I think he learned patience from fishing. He made his living doing something that at times can be quite frustrating. I wonder what was going through his mind when Jesus invited him to, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In Luke’s Gospel, it explains that Jesus told Peter and his partners James and John where to cast their nets. Amazingly, Peter although grumpy and tired, simply obeyed, and the catch was so abundant it filled two boats. That’s why they left their nets and followed Jesus to become fishers of men. I don’t think they really had a clue as to what that term “fishers of men” meant. But, they knew abundance when they saw it. And their hearts must have been open to Christ’s call.
I pray that I become more obedient in my life. I pray that I recognize abundance and who provided it for me. I pray that my heart remains always open to Christ’s call. I pray that those closest to me respond to that call, too.