It was July 5. I had just heard Meghan Good, teaching pastor at Trinity Mennonite church in Glendale, Ariz., preach a moving message, which you can read here: Breath of God.
At the end of the service, she gave us all paper seed cards with the hand-written words, “I wait for you.” Trusting Meghan, I did as I was instructed; I rushed home and planted this seed card.
Every day since July 5, I have waited. I’m still waiting, no longer with patience or with much anticipation.
I’m to the point of second guessing myself: Too much sun? Not enough sun? Too much water? Not enough water? Was it all a fraud? Did Meghan not expect someone to actually plant it? I demand answers.
I know it’s not Meghan I should be blaming, although I have a feeling she, being the wise and faithful person she is, has thoughts on the matter. Instead, I’m demanding answers from this sad-looking, empty flower pot. Why aren’t more things blooming around me and in this world? Why is there so much pain and conflict? Why is there so much mistreatment of others, animals, the environment? Why are good intentions sometimes misunderstood or misconstrued? Why so much illness and disease and devastation? Why so much injustice? And where do I/we even begin to address these difficulties?
Kind of like my empty flower pot, a lot of environments don’t seem habitable for growth and vitality right now. Whether it’s due to discriminatory or unjust policies or attitudes, a lot of people are suffering in this country and in the world. Environmental disasters are reaching such scary levels, creating additional hardship and loss of life. And I know this all too well as pastor, sometimes our church communities aren’t healthy environments for growth either. Whether its abuse, other misconduct or misdeeds, misunderstandings, conflict, violations of trust and respect, loss of accountability—you name it, it’s probably (and unfortunately) here in the church.
So yeah, I’ve been having words with this flower pot. I’ve even kicked it in frustration on a few occasions. Today, after my husband caught me pouting by this lifeless flower pot, I came across the phrase, “Hurry up and wait.” Perhaps this is the change in attitude that I’ve been waiting for, or better yet, the change God wants me to discover and practice.
Relando Thompkins-Jones writes this:
When I say hurry up and wait, I do not mean be complacent, I do not mean do not act. I mean go boldly. I mean be brave. I mean act with urgency. I mean be great. I mean work with others, and build coalitions. I mean all of these things and more. Because some things can change quickly.
Hurry up, but also wait. In your passionate haste, take care of yourselves and your comrades. Recognize that you will encounter things that may shake your very core, and that in order to keep going you’ll need to remember where you were before you started, how far you’ve come, and why you chose to start. Know that seeking support and taking time away to recover is necessary for your own survival.
Hurry up, but also wait. Whatever your area of practice and passion might be, situate yourself as being a part of a long continuum of folks who’ve dedicated their lives to pushing the needle for justice a bit further than it was before, and remember that the work towards transformational change is more of a sprint than a marathon. Consistency is key.
May it be so.