/// This the the third post in our LBF:Book Club series on Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Greg Boyle. See posts one and two here and here. ///
“How do you know when to move on?” My friend asks about one of our neighbors, only half expecting an answer, letting the question float into the steamy Miami atmosphere. It lodges in my heart, jagged and sideways, not sitting quite right.
Teilhard de Chardin wrote that we must “trust in the slow work of God.” Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to?
It takes what it takes for the great turnaround. Wait for it.
I’ve come to realize I thought I was done with waiting. Our six-year international adoption is complete. Our sons were freed from foster care and are now legally ours. We made it to Miami. Seven years of waiting for monstrous life changes; over.
Only now, I find myself waiting for life change in others. This waiting rubs against my humanity, much in the same way my own waiting did. Waiting isn’t a posture of the human heart capable of muscle memory.
My friend’s question is valid, I suppose, when we think of our finite time and resources. When we consider successful outcomes and potential returns on investment.
But, I’m coming to realize, it takes what it takes. For healing. For wholeness. For the great turnaround. And when we wander into the jurisdiction of God, we’re reminded of the slow work of God, and our only response: to wait for it.
I think waiting and hoping are two sides of the same coin. One doesn’t wait without hope, and there is no hoping without the slow work of waiting.
When you’ve chosen to stand where Satan threatens to steal the meaning of it all, the challenge then is to make meaning of it, even in the midst of waiting. To live in the already-not-yet of the Kingdom is to hope when hope feels futile from within and looks foolish from outside. It is a slow, often misunderstood, work.
Like Pedro, my hope can only come from being intoxicated by the dream that light is better than darkness. And when we are drunk on light, we encounter a God who waits. For us. For our neighbors. For the whole broken world.
It takes what it takes.
Wait for it.