"be patient"

Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. You also be patient. (Ja 5.7-8)

We got our first good rain in a while the day before yesterday. I remember walking with the umbrella past the grape arbor and smelling the fruit's dark ripeness, so sweet. Then under the trees down the trail into the ravine and how the falling rain sounded louder under the canopy of leaves, how the green was so intense and the wetness reflected the light. This is the first year we have stayed here all through the seasons, watching the plants and trees sprout and bud then grow to their thick fullness. Now the cooler temperatures are reminding us that the growing will be over soon.

I think I'm also becoming more aware of the patience needed to nurture growth in people. How often the same things need to be said and modeled, again and again, to give it a chance to gradually sink in. It seems we let ourselves be changed so slowly. And when a number of people are involved, the change within the group will probably be even slower, as it requires the growth of every individual, each with their own resistances and illusions and fears.

Fruit comes with patience. "La paciencia todo lo alcanza," Teresa of Avila said. Patience attains all.

But, as I was saying to someone the other day, patience with others is a lot easier when our experience of God (or the kingdom of God) is not limited by their slowness. Our knowing and feeling and living the reality of God's kingdom now is limited only by our willingness to follow Jesus. And he urged us (and empowers us) to draw as close and deep into God as he was when he lived on the earth. We should not blame others for the distance of our lives from what we hope we could be living. I think it is actually our insistence on pushing ahead and drawing radically close to Jesus' life, and finding peace there, that helps us be more patient with others.