No Patience

time screen on cell phone - photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels

I am not a patient person. I like to act quickly and want everything and everyone to act just as quickly as I do.

Perhaps better than any human being, Siri knows this fact about me quite well.

I remember being so excited the day someone told me I could ask Siri to text my husband on my way home. I tried it that very day, in fact. As I turned onto the highway, I hurriedly called out to my phone: “Siri, text Joey Crowder that I am picking up dinner and will be home in 20 minutes.” It felt like a lifetime before she finally responded with, “The name ‘Crowder’ means one who pushes or crowds. Would you like me to use ‘Crowder’ in a sentence?” Frustrated, I tried again, this time just as quickly but with a shorter message: “Siri, text Joey Crowder: I got dinner. ETA 20 minutes.” She responded, “The acronym ‘ETA’ is used as shorthand for one’s estimated time of arrival. To learn more about ‘ETA,’ please unlock your iPhone.” I gave up.

The morning I contemplated what I was going to write for this post, I felt every bit of my innate impatience welling up in me. Before I got into the car to drive to work that day, I typed a dozen quick beginnings on the notes app on my phone and deleted each of them just as quickly. No good ideas were coming to me, at least not as fast as I wanted them.

After I started my drive, I tried doing what St. Ignatius told me to do in prayer. I asked God aloud for exactly what I wanted: “God, I would really like 600 words of pure inspiration to come to me right now please.” I could almost feel Ignatius shaking his head from beyond the grave at both my impatience and my clear misinterpretation of “praying for a grace.” Needless to say, my prayer did not work, and God did not respond as expeditiously as I desired. Maybe I should have tried Siri again.

Nothing really works as I desire when my lack of patience gets the best of me. When I am impatient, I talk too fast for Siri to understand what I am asking. When I am impatient, I talk too much and end my prayer too fast for God to get a word in edgewise. When I am impatient, I tend to block my brain and heart from accessing anything creative or inspirational. When I am impatient, all I can focus on is my desired wants happening in my desired time. However, in those seemingly infrequent moments when I am graced with patience instead, God’s time and my time align, and creativity and inspiration abound.

Recognizing this as I pulled into the parking lot that morning, still devoid of ideas and filled with as much frustration as when Siri explained “ETA” to me, I decided to try something. After months of ignoring her, I asked Siri as calmly as I could to do something simple: “Siri, type, ‘Lord, may your time become my time’ in my notes app.” I figured if she got it wrong, it would at least make me laugh.

But, lo and behold, she didn’t!

When my car came to a stop and I pulled out my phone, the words exactly as I had spoken them were staring back at me: “Lord, may your time become my time.” As I sat and contemplated those seven simple words, I realized that this was the grace I actually desired. I want nothing more than to have God’s time and my time align and to be free from the bonds of my impatience so that our work on God’s project can commence.

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on Pexels.

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Gretchen Crowder
Gretchen Crowder has served as a campus minister and Ignatian educator for the Jesuit Dallas community for the last 15 years. She is also a freelance writer and speaker and is the host of Loved As You Are: An Ignatian Podcast. She has a B.S. in mathematics and a M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame as well as an M.T.S. from the University of Dallas. She resides in Dallas, TX, with her husband, three boys, and an ever-growing number of pets.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Oh my, how I saw myself in you. Thank you for reminding us that things get done when we bring our focus down to what really matters.

  2. I can relate to your impatience. I was like you. Yes , was because I ‘ve changed to be more patient with my self and others not sure due to ageing or being more spiritual maybe both. Tks for sharing .

  3. Thank you for your insight into being impatient. I really related to it. Sometimes, when I ask for patience, I get the complete opposite. I then stop & think that this is God’s way of teaching me when my impatience gets the better of me. I like your way best. Thank you for sharing your prayer.

  4. Gretchen, this also resonated with me. I have always been efficient but more recently as I near my 80s, I have learned to be more patient with myself as I am no longer as efficient. I think that in our younger years, we may take on too many things, too much on our plates at once. We need to recognize that we cannot do it all. But the answer is in your prayer of yielding to our Lord.
    Thank you for this reflection.
    God bless you in all that you do!

  5. Oh my goodness!!! This is such a wonderful reflection with which I completely identify. Thank you for sharing these gems of wisdom.

  6. I so resonated with this one, Gretchen. Your first two sentences could have been written about me.

    My impatience leads to frustration when all I really want is the grace to want the grace in the first place.

    Your prayer to our Father, “Lord may your time become my time” also rang a bell.

    I asked my much loved Dad many years ago, what time was best for him that we should visit and his response was “Katy love, my time is your time.”

    Peace.

    Katy

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