Sunday, February 21, 2016
Lenten Waiting: Cultivating a Spirit of Patience
So much of life is waiting. As children we wait for our birthday, we wait for Easter, we wait for summer vacation from school. Young adults cannot wait for schooling to come to an end, for the right job, for the perfect marriage partner. We must patiently wait to get over an illness. During harsh winters, we wait longingly for springtime.
Lent is about waiting. The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word for spring “lentin.” Just recently I found out that this Old English word means “to lengthen,” since in springtime the days are lengthening. Physically, the month of March is a time when the days really start to get longer—and I find myself just craving more sunlight and the chance to get outside to take walks. Spiritually, this is the season of Lent, a time to grow in my inner life.
Waiting cultivates patience in us. By nature, humans are not terribly patient. We want what we want, and we want it right now. Patience must be learned. Moreover, patience must be cultivated by having our patience tried—by being placed in situations where we simply have to wait against our wishes. Of course we can go through circumstances that make us wait for a long time without developing one bit of patience. Only with the right attitude—the right spirit—do we benefit from long, trying times. Indeed, patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who works in our lives, and, so often, the Spirit does so by inviting us to wait.
This Lenten season, I am choosing to embrace all of the opportunities to wait in my life. There are things I am waiting for at work, home and my personal life. Accepting these many opportunities to wait as gifts from the Lord, I open myself us to be shaped by God’s Spirit. Above all, I am anticipating two big things: 1) springtime and the chance to enjoy sunshine and the out-of-doors, and 2) the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.
© 2016 Glenn E. Myers