- Grow a garden. This is a definite exercise in patience. Waiting for tomatoes to ripen can be painful, especially if you miss a day at your ripening vigil and the birds get them first.
- Walk—not drive—to as many places as you can. We walk to school most mornings and home again in the afternoon. It takes us fifteen minutes if we’re going at an easy pace. If I drive, I can be there in about ninety seconds. It takes some planning but the conversations I’ve had with my kids about the day they’re about to have and the one they just finished are priceless.
- Cook from scratch more often. For the most part, I enjoy cooking. There are some nights when things have to be quick but if I can spend an hour and a half or more listening to “All Things Considered” on the radio with an apron tied around my waist, I’m usually pretty satisfied.
Recently, my most trying exercise in patience has been waiting to go and get our son in Africa. We were matched at the beginning of the summer and he’s been a constant in my thoughts ever since. He’ll be two years old in January. For some reason, I’ve got it in my head that I must have him home by his birthday. There’s always the chance that everything will get slowed down and we won’t be able to go by then but I’ve needed a date so that I can process the waiting—even if the date is wrong. There are times when I can understand why God gives me something to wait for so that other things can fall into place first or just so I can see that my personal schedule isn’t in God’s iPhone calendar. He may have a completely different timeframe. My job is to be patient and I hate it but He never said it would be simple or fast. He called Brent and me to bring a child home. It turns out that the paperwork and fingerprinting and writing multiple checks were the easy part. As Tom Petty once sang (Yes, I did eventually listen to more than polkas and The Carpenters), “The waiting is the hardest part. Every day you get one more card. You take it on faith, you take it to the heart. The waiting is the hardest part.”