My father called me Twinkle Toes as a child, but I was not the light-footed fairy that nick-name might conjure up. I dropped, broke, or tripped over, whatever was in my path. As I grew up, I resisted this part of my identity, not wanting it to define me. I thought I had succeeded but didn't realise that if an inner state doesn't change, its symptoms can present differently, but they don't go away--they are red flags, waiting for someone to pay attention.
When they were younger, two of our granddaughters lived with their parents in our basement apartment. Tori told me one day that she always knew who was walking around upstairs by our footsteps, "Your steps are fast, Omie. Grandad's steps are slow and loud." I laughed and agreed with her. I walked everywhere fast and even broke into a run for no good reason besides getting to my destination more quickly. Walking with someone who walked at a stroll was hard for me. I had to will myself to slow down and curb my impatience.
Oh, my impatience. I prayed about it a year ago and wrote the prayer down:
"Lord since patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and since you value that quality more than all the rushing and urgency with which I live, please teach me to slow down and care for the things you do. Transform me from the stressed, edgy, annoyed person I can be, to a person who carries your peace and attention into every situation. And please forgive me for wounding people with my intensity and distraction."
God's timing is not our timing. He sometimes lets us steep a while, like tea, but he doesn't forget prayer. A whole year later, I began to recognise that some of my hard edges had at their root, anxiety. It hadn't been evident to me, but once I saw it, so many scenarios made sense. Impatience was a symptom, not the cause.
I posted a photo on Facebook on a recent summer long weekend. It was of a quiet corner on our little deck, one of my happy places. My caption read, "A breeze, some shade, some books. Heaven." After posting it, I spotted something as incongruous as champagne at a wiener-roast. Probably no one but me knew what it was and I hate to admit it even here. A timer. That photo captured my life in a nutshell--all of the contradictions--a desire for peace and reflection, and my constant attempts to schedule every minute, even my leisure time. "Attempts," because I never succeeded in following the schedule or accomplishing all that I hoped, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I could laugh or cry at the photo but either way, it was another red flag.
The clincher was when I reflected on the effect of my issue on others--that at times I am not a peaceful presence in the environment. It was only then that real transformation began.
To be continued.