Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hurry Up and Wait

Just what was it that I thought I was doing? There I was, standing in the kitchen, gazing out the window looking across the back yard when suddenly it caught my eye. We had snow for the first time this year and there was quite an accumulation; at least for us in the low lands of the Pacific Northwest. Over the past week’s time we had about eight to ten inches total but today was the first day of the thaw.

To most people what I was seeing, what caught my eye, would be totally insignificant. But to those who know me, I mean really know me, they would understand. They might not, or should I say probably would not agree, but because they know me, they would understand that this is just something I have to do. So what was it that suddenly grabbed my attention and wouldn’t release me? What was so important that I was willing to discount any other plans that I might have had for the day for this? What could I possibly have seen that would cause me to give up unrecoverable time just to be mesmerized by this?

Well… there, across the yard is where the barn is. We call it the barn because both my wife and I work in “the shop” so to call this building the shop would just be too confusing. The barn is actually an aluminum pole building. It has two sections. One section is for auto repair. That’s the part that is taller. Actually almost a two story building and then the other lower section is for wood working. We have a fairly large carport attached to the taller auto section and over the week’s time as the snow was piling up I had to shovel the carport to prevent the possibility of a cave in. The snow around here is really wet and heavy so I just don’t like to take those chances. Time ran out on me the night that I was shoveling so I never got to the lower section roof to shovel it. As I get older I find that the tasks that I used to do quickly and easily take much more time and energy than I expect. Fortunately the snow stopped falling and the melt started, so I never did have to shovel that lower section of roof and it’s because of this that I was now standing, mesmerized by the view.

There on the lower section of barn roof was the piled up snow starting its decent. It had slid enough to overhang the eaves by twelve to fourteen inches and had cracked the surface pack. It was poised to fall at any time. This is something that I just had to witness. I know that may sound silly but I just had to wait and see it break off and tumble to the ground. As I stared at this eighth wonder of the world, I just knew that I couldn’t do anything until that overhang fell. I grabbed a cup of coffee and settled into a spot that gave me an optimum view.

The first ten minutes was nothing. I expected to have to wait. The next thirty were a bit harder to endure. Then I started getting restless. I started asking God to just break it off already. I had waited long enough. Come on God, this is my life I’m wasting here. How long do I have to wait to watch some stupid snow to fall off the roof? I know, you thought that at the very beginning, but now I was getting impatient. I finally gave up and told God that it just wasn’t important and that He wasn’t listening to me anyway. So I determined that I was going to go and knock it down since He wasn’t going to heed my request. I got all dressed to go outside and headed for the door when I realized that I … needed to floss my teeth? Really? The eighth wonder of the world is about to unfold and I need to floss my teeth? Go figure!

So I floss my teeth as quickly as possible and come back out to find… you guessed it, I missed it. The show was over. All that waiting, all that anticipation, gone. Wasted. I got distracted. I lost the focus. So of course I told God that I really didn’t care. That it was stupid anyway. So I marched down to the barn and knocked off the little bit of snow that remained because I was going to be in control. But inside I knew that I just allowed my impatience to get the best of me. I knew I should have just waited. I knew this one was on me.

So what did all this mean? Was there something larger here then snow sliding that God was trying to teach me? I believe that there was. But that only became evident today. So as Paul Harvey so eloquently stated; “Now the rest of the story.”

This morning I got up a little later then normal for a Sunday, and headed downstairs for a cup of coffee. I knew that we were too late to make the early morning church service but for some reason I wasn’t interested in going to the second service either. As I took my coffee and roamed through the house I looked out across the yard and there once again was that ledge of snow hanging precariously at the edge of the roof. This time however there was no crack in it so I knew that it would be some time before this ledge would hasten to the pull of gravity.

As I thought of the events of the previous day, I told my wife Lynn of all that had happened and we had a good laugh over it. I told her that as I sat there yesterday waiting, that I had thought of her, and knowing her personality, accepted the reality that this was something that she would have been incapable of doing. Just the same as with the nights that I stand out in the middle of the yard gazing at stars and not allowing myself to go off to bed before I see one more shooting star or one more satellite go by. She agreed and appreciated that I knew her so well and again we laughed.

And then, it happened. God began to speak to me. I looked out at the ledge of snow again on that roof top and now, there it was, a fresh crack across the top snow pack on the overhanging ledge of snow. I thought to myself; it won’t be long now before it falls and then quickly remembered that those were my thoughts the previous day and I didn’t have the patience to wait. That is when God spoke and said, “Are you willing to wait for My time?” As I pondered the question it occurred to me that there was great relevance here. So I decided to get another cup of coffee and sit for a spell and see if there was anything else He was going to say. As I sat and watched, He brought greater insight to my mind.

He brought to mind the reality that all too often I get impatient and end up working ahead of His timing. As I sat there, a Stellar Jay flew by and perched in a nearby tree. He reminded me that sometimes I get so focused on the outcome that I miss the beauty in the work. A few moments later, a hummingbird flew into view. It stopped at the feeder for a few moments and was gone. Again He reminded me of His creation and His blessing. Then, a red-winged woodpecker flew by. You guessed it, again He spoke and said, “I have created all of these for your good pleasure.” After a few more moments a couple of Crows flew by and I wondered if this was Satan’s way of distracting be from my goal.

After much more waiting, an interesting thing happened. In the middle of the overhang, a large part of the bottom of the ledge broke off and fell to the ground. He again spoke to me and said, “Sometimes when you wait for something it doesn’t all happen at once. It may come in smaller increments.” Just then a beautiful Red-tailed hawk soared by and I was in awe at the diversity of His creation.

Suddenly I noticed that the crack was getting bigger so I decided to go down and look at it first hand. By this time, the weather was getting blustery and rainy. I put on my hat, boots and coat and walked across the yard toward the barn and just then four huge Canadian geese flew by seemingly close enough to reach out and touch. I had to wonder just what it was that He was trying to say with all of these beautiful flying masterpieces that He had blessed me with and then it came to me. He wanted me to see that the waiting doesn’t have to be as painful as I had made it the day before. The waiting can be a blessing if we know and recognize that it’s His plan to wait. I’ts easy to get so focused on the final outcome that we lose sight of the blessings along the way.

So I finally got to roof’s edge and as I inspected it I could hear it creaking and groaning. But I could also hear the sounds of the birds calling to each other in the background. The Stellar Jay squawking to its mate. The Crows just having a time of community and then I recognized another sound. The song of the Robin. Now to me the Robin’s song means a new beginning or new life. When I was growing up, the Robins would leave for the winter and it wasn’t until the spring when the carpet of snow gave way to the new blooms that the Robins would reappear. That’s when He spoke to me again saying, “I will make a new thing for you if you are willing to wait for My time.”

Wow! That was one powerful message. That one really got my attention. With all that has been happening in my life lately I really needed to hear that. So I stood there in the wind and the rain and the cold and I waited. I listened and watched and waited. But while I was waiting, knowing that I had to wait this time, nature started calling. All those cups of coffee that I had enjoyed earlier that morning where starting to talk to my bladder and I knew that I would have to relieve myself soon. So I paced back and forth and called out to God and pleaded with Him to just let this snow ledge fall already because my eyeballs where about to start floating. Nothing! The snow ledge was getting longer, the crack was getting bigger but it just wouldn’t fall. Finally…. I could wait no more. I had to relieve myself. I went back to the house and took care of business never looking back. When I came back out…. You may have guessed it. Or not.

The snow ledge was still there. He hadn’t let it fall. As I walked up to the barn He spoke to me again and this time He said, “Some times when it’s necessary, I will wait for you too.” So as I gathered my thoughts and took my position of waiting once again, not two minutes went by and it happened. As I was starring right at it, the ledge of snow made a clean break and fell to the earth. I smiled and my spirit smiled and I knew that God was very near. I went close and looked at the break line and noticed that there were a few spots that were still hanging on and He said one last thing to me. He said, “Sometimes there will be some reminders of the past but don’t let them control your future.”

So today I missed my church service. But what I got instead was a real life lesson from my Father Himself. Attending church is an important part of our lives and there is much good to gain from it but we need to have discernment enough to be able to know when we just need time alone with the Father.

Don’t let the waiting in life be a burden to you. Enjoy it and look for all the blessing along the way. Who knows, there might be a snow ledge, shooting star, or satellite out there with your name on it.

When you are willing to wait for His perfect timing, the sky is the limit. Happy waiting.

By Geoff Lyons
(Note: This beautiful piece of writing was done by my younger brother and sent to members of our family. When I read it, I knew that it was meant to be shared, and with his permission, I am posting it here. I pray it touches you in the same powerful way that it did me. - Mark)