In this chapter of Liturgy of the Ordinary, Tish Harrison Warren writes about the ways of waiting by using traffic as an illustration. She says how, when we’re stuck in traffic on I-5 or 217, we are best reflecting our embodiment as people of faith—we’re on a journey to somewhere, with no control over God’s time.
I hated that metaphor for the accuracy of it.
That’s not just because I don’t like traffic (does anyone really?). It cuts to the core of my inherent impatience. In our instant-gratification society, I am accustomed to finding solutions to my problems with a few clicks of an internet search. My brain craves the hits of serotonin I get when I see the little red notifications from Facebook or Instagram after posting something. I love the satisfaction of getting results.
But faith is not about results. Faith cannot be forced or rushed. Patience cannot be perfected, only practiced. And patience in waiting is so hard.
As a young girl and into adulthood, my friends and I would talk constantly about how we couldn’t wait to meet our future spouse, or get married, or have a baby, or get our dream job, or travel the world, or fill in the blank. It can almost be easier to inhabit a season of anticipation rather than to be present in the moment at hand. But that is the beauty of faith—that we can ask the question that I’ve carried in my back pocket for the better part of a year from one of Bo’s first sermons at Vermont Hills—“What is it time for?”
I hope to orient my life around the spirit of that question—to evaluate and reevaluate where I am and what I’m doing, and to spend my time in worthy ways. In traffic, instead of screaming at people to get off of their phones and DRIVE already oh my g—(yeah, guilty), it might be time for some humble acceptance of where I am through prayer. Instead of resenting unwanted seasons of my life, it might be time for practicing God’s presence and finding that everywhere I stand is holy ground. Even I-5.
Our time is limited. May we inhabit it well. Amen.