Not too long ago, I realized that even though I’m “grown-up” now, things still take a long time. I think that somehow, small Lydia believed that when she grew up, the flour would move faster and cleaner out of the sack, the vanilla would pour quickly to fill a perfect teaspoon, the molasses would pour smoothly and fluidly out of the measuring cup. It has come to my attention (much to my annoyance) that I still spend precious extra seconds waiting. Waiting at red lights, coming to a full stop at a sign, convincing my horse to soften and listen under harness.
Why do I still bristle at waiting, even though all my life, everything combines to contradict my stubborn addiction to efficiency? You would think that instead of increasing in impatience, I’d increase in virtue! Sometimes, I can’t even stand to play Debussy. It’s too slow.
This is why I need moments with music, however. I need to listen deeply and bravely, and it’s something I desire to instill in my students. Beautiful things are often slow things, every action is preceded by a breath. The resolution is even more wonderful when we’ve let that minor 7th sit there for a few pulses, just as I must wait for the perfect steep of a morning tea, watch as slowly and unseen, candles burn lower, read a long book or immerse myself in the repetition of a knitting a shawl. I need this exhortation more than I admit. Students and teacher alike must learn the lesson of waiting.
Driving down the freeway this evening, the rainy breeze and the slow, jazzy, relaxed strains of George Strait reminded me of home. I’m losing my country driving and the beautiful unhurried way of the folks back in Dobbin and countrysides the world over. I’m forgetting the beauty of the journey and the space between each fence post. What matters is easily forgotten and overlooked, and definitely not something incredibly efficient.
A handful of Sundays ago, we began the Triodion with the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. The Church has always understood the mystery of growing up. Rather than a confident attitude of resolving to do better in a frenzied clutching, the prayer of the prodigal and publican is one of patience and trust: “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”
This patient, trusting waiting is something I maybe knew better as a child, when I knew that chopping an onion would take some time, and that if I poured too quickly, I’d end up with flour in my face and all over the counter. Turns out, growing up was different than I thought it would be, and I still need a little country nostalgia and Debussy and tea in my life, now more than ever.