In Hillsong Worship’s Seasons was a heavy hitting line: Oh, how nature acquaints us / with the nature of patience. It clicked, and when it did, I understood. Patience was not a virtue I have a lot of. But patience was a virtue I wanted to learn.
The past two weeks can be summed up with one world: terrible. August, if it stays at this rate, is set to become my next non-favorite month, next to April. I guess I don’t like As. July to September are the country’s wettest months. For us living in a somewhat-abandoned subdivision, it translates to flooded streets and murky puddles that remain for weeks.
Until now, the waterworks after Habagat‘s lashing is still there, outside our gate. When the tide is high, it creeps inside without asking permission, bringing with it all the waste we carelessly threw in the street. We learned to keep watch of the hours. We attuned ourselves to the billowing of the fish ponds and rivers and wait it out until they calm down and surge back. The past 2 weeks, I might also add, is a lesson of listening, not to our own whines, but to the breathing of the earth, and to me, frankly, it was one of the best lessons I have ever learned.
A letdown, but not a put-down
Nine days ago, we lost our phone line. Not just us; our neighbors too. We suspect it was affected by the fizzing cable men spotted on a Thursday. That same Thursday, I ventured out to pay for my taxes before the 20th, which was the due for the monthlies. When I got to the bank after walking through an ankle-deep flood, I was told that the particular form I used was, unfortunately, obsolete.
I headed straight home after that. Home, carrying mixed feelings of anger and suspicion and strategies to pay minus the efforts of going out. Brewing those plans were not easy; it was like reworking a puzzle made by life. Life is a tough competitor. Life didn’t want to be opposed to, or less unraveled. But all the while, I was looking at the wrong angle; it took me half a day to realize that what happened was a miracle. That the new form would require me to pay quarterly, and that the deadline, the one I was trying to beat, was actually extended.
Ah, patience. It had a lot to teach me.
During the days of no internet, I was relying on data. Now I knew what it feels like. Wi-Fi is a privilege that I often take for granted. It was so familiar. It was just there. Having it in our household was as normal as eating, and when it got cut, everything felt strange, and lightly catastrophic. The real wonder, however, is the innate knowledge that we had a fallback. That we won’t fall back completely helpless. And on the days I pushed myself to work, there was a solution, a resource readily available. Tethering my 1GB data allowance from my phone to my laptop, I managed to submit my dues. Maybe even more.
It was the time I saw for myself what was possible. It was the time I knew God has me equipped and enabled. And when the issue lasted for over the week, even as I nudged our provider on social media, I wasn’t really disconnected. I just learned to use my data well. And wasn’t this the perfect lesson to cut off unnecessary things from my daily routine?
I spent a lot of time outdoors, especially at mornings, because that’s where the signal was the strongest. This also means sunlight, and a nice glimpse at the garden greens my mom grows. And slowly, as I digest my new favorite track that speaks of my current struggle — not just internet, but life in whole — I realized the beauty of it. Patience. The lessons in waiting. The discovery of possibilities in times of unknown. The knowledge of people who are ready to lend a hand. That we are all connected in a Greater Garden, where a Farmer continually lavishes us with sunlight and songs and a lot of His patience, and this virtue, therefore, should be embedded in our branches.
On a Monday, when I was hoping that our connection would be restored but didn’t, I wrote this verse at the end of my log:
“5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:5-8, New International Version
Last month, in our Sunday School, I taught the kids about the fruit of the Spirit, and while ticking all 9 of it, I convinced myself that I had more of some, less of some. Patience was something I had less of, but this season, patience is something I learned. I see it in the little potted plants that drape our terrace. I see it in this marvelous calamansi tree that starts blooming fruits, in which, during the flood, I had the honor of picking. I see it in this house, where we are surrounded by plants and gardeners who grew their seeds, not necessarily botanical.
Slowly, I see it. I see it in me. I acknowledge that the flow of life is not against me. It’s for me. It’s nurturing me, helping me to learn, guiding me to unravel the dead skin from which I hide underneath. It pulls me out of my walls, allowing me to cherish society little by little. It teaches me to cling to another’s hand, because walking alone only leads to confusion. It gradually kills my notion of self, so a better notion, and a better self, comes to life.
“37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. ” – 1 Corinthians 15:37-28, New International Version
And, further down
“43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” – 1 Corinthians 15:43-44, New International Version
The lesson? I am a seed sown, a new body grown. This post is to recognize this season, one that required much more patience than skill. A season of learning. And a season of leaning to the Hands Eternal, hoping someday, tender shoots, branches sprout, and we’ll both bloom into a tree that will be a refuge for many, as curtsy to the trees I now take shelter from. x
God bless your season.