In college, I had a roommate who was ALWAYS late. It made me crazy. We would all be ready to leave for church or a night out and she’d still have curlers in her hair and just be beginning the process of looking for her things and grabbing something to eat. She would pretend like she was in a hurry, but she was so slow at getting things done. I had no patience with her.
Fast forward to the present. I know God loves me, but I’m confident He laughs at me. He turned me into her. He gave me children, and I became my old roommate. I think I have been on time to less than one dozen events since Grant was born six years ago. I do not think He will cure me of this problem until I stop getting mad about it. I noticed the other day that I always drive like I’m in a hurry because, well, I usually am. At best, I’m about five minutes behind schedule, and at worst … um, let’s just say that sometimes I give up on even going where I was headed in the first place. Not to make excuses, but — actually, yes, I will make excuses! These are the reasons I am never on time:
- Children who wear diapers ALWAYS poop on the way out the door.
- It does not matter how many times you have done laundry and sorted thousands and thousands of pieces of mismatched footwear, your children will NEVER be able to find socks when you say it’s time to go.
- They do not want a coat when they need one, and they want to bring extraneous toys and books along when they do not need them. Battles about said preferences ensue.
- Even if you get all your children dressed and ready one hour before it’s time to leave because you are trying EXTRA hard to be on time, they will pee their pants or step in yogurt in their socks or take off their jacket and hide it in some place that will take you at least 25 minutes to find later because they “don’t remember” where they put it.
- Although I’m finally starting to get past this stage, small children have a mass amount of equipment that needs to accompany them on every outing. So even when you get them ready to go, you have to check your “suitcase” and make sure you have enough junk to prepare you for anything that may come your way, from an extreme diaper blowout to the possibility of being abducted by aliens and having to entertain your child for an extended period of time while you wait to appear before the intergalactic tribunal. I have no idea where that just came from.
- Even if I am going somewhere without the children, the process of getting out the door feels like trying to escape from quicksand.
Every time I hear one of those talks about how important it is to arrive to church early so that you can prepare yourself to hear the messages, and not be disruptive to the congregation with your late entrance, I just get mad. Do the people who give this counsel remember what it’s like to have small children? I’m mad at myself, mostly, because I can’t seem to figure it out. I do not know why I have not been able to overcome this struggle. I have tried many experiments. Charts on the door. Restraining all children in car seats and THEN gathering equipment. Getting ready earlier. Organizing my front closet so that all coats and shoes and backpacks and bags are easy-access. Yelling and barking orders. Skipping breakfast. I’m still late. I’m doomed. Wait a second. I just realized, for the very first time in six years, that I have never once prayed about it. I’m serious. I’ve never had that thought before. Duh. Is there really a chance that Heavenly Father would help me get out the door on time? Then what would He laugh at? Oh please, He’s got PLENTY to keep Himself entertained on the Stephanie Channel.
I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, part of this whole struggle is not so that I learn to be on time, but so that I learn to be PATIENT. Can I be rushed and still be kind to my children? Can I purge myself of all the frustrated feelings and just get on with my life? Can I be running late to church and not get mad about it, thereby ruining my chances of feeling the Spirit there anyway? Ugh. I have always loved the writings of Neal A. Maxwell and I found an awesome talk he gave entitled, “Patience.” Check out some of these gems from that talk:
“When we are impatient, we are neither reverential nor reflective because we are too self-centered. Whereas faith and patience are companions, so are selfishness and impatience.” . . .
“Clearly, without patience, we will learn less in life. We will see less. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less. The pressures of now, time and time again, go against the grain of the gospel with its eternalism.”
I love his stuff because he takes simple principles and attributes and places them in an eternal perspective. So I’m feeling a little renewed after writing this. I might even humble myself enough to hear some of your suggestions for being on time. I’ll try really hard not to roll my eyes when I read them. But I’m definitely trying that prayer thing, too, because bless my roommate’s heart, living late all the time is no fun.
Reminder: As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (“wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL). When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise). Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.