Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Blessings of Patient Discernment


“You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.”
~James Matthew Barrie.
Impetuosity!  Frankness and scourging delight that are impossible to contain; these are the death of us and our plans.  If only we’d have waited...    
Why we are so apt at chasing the fleeting wind is a mystery known only to God.  We do so because we like to, I suppose.  But with our 20/20 hindsight engaged we can readily see what we’re doing.  Our brokenness and desire for acceptance and approval thrusts us into what promises as limelight, but ends us being something entirely different.
Now, this is the truth: forcing the pace gets us worse than nowhere.
Accepting Time
Being a friend of time makes a lot of sense because there is no use being its enemy.  Time slows or quickens for no person.
As we grow in our acceptance of time and the right timing of things, we’re blessed with the ability, more and more, to discern the actual needs of the time.  Then, simply, it’s up to us whether we take its lead or not.
Golden Anti-Moments
There are such times, when, for moments to slip gracefully by, would actually be a treat. 
When we’re hurting deeply or life becomes much too chaotic for the reasonable person to bear, for instance, we’re reminded how coarse and haggard life can be.  We are better to be anesthetised from these, if that’s at all possible.  God is able to gird the way with great effect like this when we seek refuge. Sometimes escape is a very practical wisdom practice, preserving us.
Numbness, then, is seen later as a very good thing from our retrospect, as the mind and heart were able to catch their collective breaths, fresh for a new assault when life corrected itself.
Times that appear vacuous—we’ll call them ‘anti-moments’—seem inordinately welcome; times when we have the inkling that all is not right, and delay might be the best approach.
At these times our God-revealed wisdom was invoked.  And we waited and were thankful for this wisdom.
Faith for Times of Action to Return
Sometimes we feel as if the whole of our lives has changed for the worse, and that there is no hope of reconciling the times as they were.
These times call for patience as we claw away at ourselves, clamouring for reason and logic to become ‘us’ once again; to feel right and true and beyond the constant internal haranguing.
Other times, we’re just blessed to wait a minute, an hour or a day or few, for our efforts will be spoiled if we commit and deploy too early.  Sometimes it’s just better at times to slow down:
“Slow down, you move too fast; you’ve got to make the morning last...”
~Simon & Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), 1966.
It is a great skill in life to be able to patiently stare at a blank page for a while, not getting bored, especially when the time is appropriate for reflection.
Accepting the boundaries of time, and being able to accept the presence of all kinds of moments—the good, the bad, and the ugly—requires patient discernment. We can live only one moment at a time. Peace and joy rely on staying in the moment.
© 2010, 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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