The flowers appear on the earth;
            the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
            is heard in our land. – Song of Songs 2:12 (NRSV)


There are times I can be a patient person. Spring is not one of those times.

In our yard, the first trees begin to show their buds around the first of May. It wasn’t until I lived in our current house in the woods that I realized it took a month for the leaves to fully come out. Even the early buds have just reached their full size.

Likewise, most of the plants and flowers have sprouted up by now. But it will be a couple of weeks before they are fully flushed out and the flowers begin to bloom. During this time, it’s hard for me to be patient.

Even before the snow is gone, I eagerly anticipate the green of spring. I look out the window every day as the green begins to appear waiting (impatiently) for everything to be bigger, fuller, greener. I think bad things about the lack of spring here in Milwaukee, muttering about the lake and looking enviously at the pictures friends post of plants and flowers in full bloom. The warmth of summer can’t get here soon enough for me.

A week ago, I finally went to buy flowers for my planters. I think it’s safe now – no more snow or frost. I enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather that has been so long in coming as I dug into the dirt. I wished longingly for these small flowers to become big enough to peek over the edge of planters and overtake what seems like a lot of empty space between them.

But my impatience isn’t justified. Just as my trees and perennials need to rest in the winter, they also need time to wake up and come into their fullness. There is no rushing growth. And if I wish away these weeks of their spring infancy, I fail to enjoy the limited time we have before August comes and their blooms begin to fade.

It’s easy for me to do this in life as well. I want to rush through (or skip over) rest and growing times that are necessary preparation for the fullness of life. I forget this collection of moments are what bring us to “the” moment when it all comes together. Likewise, I don’t want to be patient as I wait for my faith to grow to its fullness. I want answers to my questions and prayers now. I’d like all the wisdom in the beginning to avoid mistakes and wrong turns.

But it is the wrestling with my questions that helps me to know what prayers to pray. And it’s the mistakes and wrong turns that give me the wisdom to the know the difference. Shortcuts don’t work with summer flowers or the spiritual life.

Therefore, I pray for at least a little more patience – and a little more wisdom to see the need for whatever time it takes to bring both my yard and faith into the beautiful thing God intends them to be. As Teilhard de Chardin wrote in his famous prayer, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

Wrestling with my questions helps me to know what prayers to pray. Mistakes & wrong turns give me the wisdom to the know the difference. Shortcuts don’t work with summer flowers or the spiritual life. #faith Click To Tweet

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