Open Office has unexpectedly crashed.
My efforts to help manage back-end details of an upcoming event have been fraught with technical difficulties, and this is just another on the pile. But time is short in this whirlwind life and my sin-nature leaps into my chest, as the pressure of frustration causes my breath to catch.
I stare at the screen for a moment then choose my road-less-traveled. I will practice patience.
I brew a cup of tea and walk out the back door. Sun shining on brown fields, remnants of unfinished projects everywhere... green peeking through.
New life always springs from the old downtrodden brown.
I call out an invitation and gather my walking companions.
Tea in one hand, vegetable scraps in the other, I walk the path to the little wood where three mommy pigs grow bellies big with babies. Armored and furry companions trot behind and before me.
My eye catches on a gnarl of branches, dry and brown just days past, and now dressed with the bright green of new life.
I linger a moment then turn back to the path to see that my fellow travelers have found a big brother in the field. He tells me, "I stepped outside and felt the wind on my face."
Little helmeted man in a brown field runs to hold the bright arrow aloft for his brother. Lets go, it falls. Lets go, it falls. Lets go and it soars like a bolt straight up in the air.
Darting and racing the kite shoots through the sky. I am mesmerized by its brightness against the clouds, then the blue on blue as it zips by clear skies.
I turn and look at the kite master... how can it be? How can this tall strong boy-man be the same child who not too long ago peaked timidly from behind my skirts? He smiles when he sees me watching him then quickly looks back to the sky.
The kite plummets with a crash so he gathers it up and joins the parade. Mama, warrior, kite master, pup, and now a cat for good measure, we all make our way toward the squeals. The pigs have heard us coming.
We lean over the fence and offer bright fresh nibbles. A piece of sweet jicama is a welcome treat for a hungry mama.
I am filled to bursting. It is all so good.
If it is true that to become an expert one must practice for 10,000 hours, then I am far from an expert in patience. But I am choosing to practice.
When I savor the memory of that sunny walk, it seems such an easy choice.
But in a crossroad moment, in an I-can't-believe-I-just-lost-all-that-work flash, or a why-is-there-always-someone-complaining lament, it is not. How can something so simple be so hard?
Another look at those crossroads... the patient road less traveled and the exasperated highway of heavy sighing and grumping-around... and I see why it is not so simple. There is a fierce gremlin-of-self barring the way to my road less traveled.
I could just turn away from a fight and walk down the broad highway of complaint. And I do. A lot.
I could wrestle with the gremlin. But I have found I am ill-equipped.
My only hope is to ask for help. My Jesus... my sword of the spirit, His Word... sharper than a double-edged sword. Gremlin be gone!
So I find I can't just choose to walk down a path of patience, I must choose to turn to Jesus for help to clear the path before me. And that is simple.
I step away... breathe a prayer... find new life in the broken-down.
I choose to practice.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost ~
This is what the LORD says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
~ Jeremiah 6:16 ~