Do All Good Things Come to Those Who Wait?
I answered the question in the title as a response to today's assignment for my writing group, in which we were asked to argue against a common cliche we chose from a list. I hope you enjoy mine.
For most of my life, I’ve been the kind of person who made a change only when circumstances forced me to. The philosophy of “all good things come to those who wait” seemed to work. But I have come to doubt this philosophy. It’s not that I’m discounting those who patiently wait or entrust their hopes and dreams to God and leave them there. On the contrary, my life following this way of thinking was happy and blessed. But I have taken on a more active and engaged approach lately and found it invigorating, fruitful, and even more honouring of God.
Change is deeply uncomfortable for me, although I have friends who thrive on it and are energized by it for its own sake. I am learning to embrace change actively instead of passively, though. Perhaps because realistically, in my seventies, my finish line is close enough to really matter, I am invested in seizing the days I have left, with more incredible determination and self-direction, whether they be many or few.
I’ve always encouraged young people not to worry, that God has a plan for our lives and will direct our paths if we place our lives in his hands and trust him. I believed that God opened doors for me from an early age, which I had the good sense and trust to walk through. And he has never failed to bless. But on the other hand, I grew up in a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard, taught not to question or contradict adults and when we often listened to the phrase, “Who do you think you are?” The correct answer was, “Nobody,” it seemed, or at least, “Not the one in charge.” It was wrong to think highly of oneself, and humility and obedience were prized traits. Although I married a man who grew up in the same environment, he fought back against that conditioning; I accepted it and stifled the questions that arose in my young mind about some of the things that seemed to make no sense. My survival skills were niceness and accommodation. I did not rock boats or seize anything, let alone the day.
Last year I knew that I needed to make an essential change in a particular area, and I knew that to do so required action and not passive hoping. It took me much longer than it might have taken others, but I did it, and for the first time, I felt an energy and pride that I’d not experienced before. I think that even God might have been wondering if I’d ever move forward in the wisdom and good sense he’d built into me. Would I ever consider what it was I wanted—what would make me happy? I did learn to embrace these questions last year and acted on the answers, working hard for the things in life that would bring me the greatest joy. The result is becoming a person who is a better example to others, and one whose remaining days I hope will be defined by well-chosen purpose, clarity, and greater ease in saying, “No,” to pursuits or opportunities that do not fit.
Have I arrived? No. Is this all my own brilliant doing? No. But with the help of friends and family who support, pray and cheer me on, I am getting there.
All good things come to those who wait? Sometimes, perhaps, but I now believe that more good things come to those who actively engage in prayerfully choosing what to pursue and who partner with God to bring them about.