Jesus’ arms hold new life. For many years, robins have nested on the wooden crucifix in the monastery cloister. This spring, for nearly two weeks, a mother and father robin have taken turns like a tag team “sitting tight” on the eggs, while the other mate searches for food. Once the eggs are hatched, the fledglings will leave the nest when they are ready for their maiden flight in about two weeks. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of waiting.

Waiting figures prominently in creation. The gestation and development of flowers and trees, of animals, fish, birds and human beings follow a cadence that resists being rushed. In a dark night, you may wish for the dawn to come soon; but, of course, it will come on its own time. We are waiting now for the resolution of the Coronavirus crisis; however for so many of us, that timeframe is beyond our control. Even if we are agents in the resolution of the pandemic – being health care workers, research scientists, government or corporate leaders, or among the countless numbers of people who, by their work, are making life possible for others – we still face an element of waiting for what is beyond our ultimate control. We are working, and we are waiting. We must be patient.

The English word “patience,” comes from the Latin patientia which is a “quality of suffering.” And suffering you are as you wait patiently, hopefully, sometimes desperately for a resolution. Patience also means dependence, exposure, being no longer in control of your own situation, being the object of what is done. Living life patiently is very difficult to do.

Living life patiently is not the only way to navigate life. Some situations we face in life just now require aggressive responses; however patience also needs to be an active word in your soul’s vocabulary. When the answer is not forthcoming, when something is not being resolved, when the door isn’t being opened, when someone is not acquiescing, when you have lost any sense of controlling your circumstances, there is also an invitation for patience. It’s “to wait, like watchmen waiting for the morning,” (Psalm 130).

Waiting is difficult. You may have a predisposition that you shouldn’t have to wait. But these days we all are having to wait. Pray for the gift of God’s power, provision, patience, that this huge trial we now face also be a time of gestation for new life beyond which you could have imagined. Pray for the strength you need just now to work and to wait.

“I waited patiently upon the LORD;
he stooped to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay;
he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure.”

Psalm 40:1-2


Br. Curtis Almquist

5 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Gates on May 16, 2020 at 09:50

    So wonderful to write about the practice of patience. It is difficult at this time to recall that God is there for us at all times. Thank you for your thoughtful and gracious message.

  2. Spencer Myers on May 15, 2020 at 02:23

    A modest Haiku:

    To wait is so hard
    But remembering this helps –
    It’s all in God’s hands

    Bless you, brother Curtis, and all your companions on the road we all tread together.

  3. Ginger Hanning on May 14, 2020 at 15:33

    Thank you for this. I needed it today.

  4. Cheryl on May 14, 2020 at 13:01

    Thank you for this. It couldn’t come at a better time for me. While I have been surprisingly patient for the past few months, it seemed like all that drained out of me last night. Anxiety started running amok as I tried to find ways to fix things that aren’t fixable right now. And while today started out as a continuation of that edginess, I’ve come to realize that I need to sit quietly and try to get my mind to stop racing. Your words, Br. Curtis, have frequently calmed me in times of turmoil but perhaps never more than today. Thank you. And I send blessings to all the Brothers during these difficult times.

  5. Maria Evans on May 14, 2020 at 11:38

    You write and express the meanings and teaching so softly and wonderfully for me. This was a wonderful gift today. I have been waiting patiently for many years and have learned that it is me that has to move forward to make a change. This was a very reassuring message for me in my life and in my COVID life. Thank you and I am grateful to God for the words you put to paper.

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