A Snail's Tale
Occasionally, I will have a song from my childhood that gets stuck in my brain. Out of nowhere the tune and the words will seem to play on a loop. After a while, I realize the appearance of the song is more than just a coincidence but rather is connected to something I have been experiencing or thinking about perhaps without even realizing it.
For the last couple of days, it has been a song I learned for a musical production my church put on when I was about ten years old. The musical was “The Music Machine: A Fantasy Story from Agapeland.” The story is about two young children who meet a conductor who teaches them “fruits of the spirit” life lessons through songs the “music machine” plays.
While I honestly don’t remember much of the storyline of the musical, I remember one song. It is the song a snail named Herbert sings about patience. The chorus of the song came to me so clearly that you would think that I had heard it sung recently. That is not the case. (I won’t tell you how long ago it was that I was in the musical, but you can take a guess.) Yet, its sudden appearance has given me pause that perhaps it is a message worth paying attention to. The words are simple and are best, I imagine, being sung very slowly. Remember this was the snail’s signature song.
“Have patience. (5-second pause)
Have patience. (5-second pause)
Don’t be in such a hurry. (10-second pause)
When you get impatient (5-second pause)
You only start to worry. (5-second pause)
Remember (10-second pause)
Remember (10-second pause)
That God is patient too (5-second pause)
And think of all the times when others (5-second pause)
Have to wait for you!”
Yes, perhaps a silly, simple song, but it got me thinking. (And maybe it will get you thinking too.) I thought about the pace of our world. The pace of life, including my own. We always seem to be in a rush. More recently it is…A rush to get back to our busyness. A rush to dismiss what we are going through individually and collectively. A rush to distract ourselves from the depth of our feelings and experiences. A rush to move away from our fears and uncertainties. A rush to push past the present moment to what we have convinced ourselves will be moments that are better or easier. A rush to get ahead of whatever or whoever seems to be in our way.
Yet, I believe our rushing shortcuts the important life experiences God intends us to have.
Our impatience shortcuts our opportunities to slow down to see and experience the beauty all around us. Our impatience shortcuts our opportunities to truly listen and learn from one another. Our impatience shortcuts our ability to heal and be made whole. Our impatience shortcuts our opportunities to offer grace and mercy to others and ourselves. And our impatience shortcuts our opportunities to be fully in the presence of the One who is not bound by time.
In so many ways, we have lost our ability to be patient. Yet God is still patient with us, waiting for us to understand the importance, the beauty, and the power of being still to experience the marvels of allowing the Spirit of God to hold us, protect us, and carry us forward. So dear friends, in the days ahead, may we remember to practice patience.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister