Love is patient...
I Cor. 13:4
Catholicism teaches that God is outside of time. Things for Him do not occur like they do for us. We experience one moment and it disappears into history and then another and it disappears into history. Time for us is sequential and we can only perceive and be aware of the moment that we are in, one moment at a time. Our brains can remember our own personal vanished moments, which is an extraordinary thing, but we cannot experience the future. We have to wait for it.
Having all moments happen at once would probably kill us in human flesh. So, therefore, we can conclude as Christians, that time is a great gift for us. It allows us to listen to a symphony from beginning to end while the different movements build, ebb and flow, go from major key to minor and then finally resolve in the end back to a major key. Time allows us to eagerly anticipate which team will win a sports event. Time also can hold us in suspense during a crisis and push us towards fervent prayer that the end of the sequence of events will not hurt us or someone we love.
We all want each and every moment we experience, as we are experiencing it, to be full of happiness, at the least, comfort. We dislike the moments of too much cold or hot or too much interpersonal stress or physical pain. When we are not experiencing comfort, we tend to become impatient waiting for relief. We learn ways of dulling pain quickly, so that we don’t have to experience too many sequential moments of discomfort.
Yet, for everyone time forces us to wait and therefore has the potential of teaching us patience. This unbending structure of time imposes upon our experience moment after moment of waiting. Which is a good thing if you understand it. For love is patient. We could not learn patience if we didn’t have this sequence of moments, one after the other.
Time is there to teach us to love, for the first definition of love is patience. We could not love if we didn’t have the gift of time.
All those “gravelly” moments of hearing your toddler scream and throw tantrums (as well as food), those hours of your husband snoring at night, those times of waiting for the train or a phone call, being thirsty or hungry; and less irritating moment such as reading a book, taking a walk, all those sunrises and sunsets that start and finish our days are meant to teach us to be patient with each other. And thus, we learn to love. Love is patient.
In fact we could not love if it wasn’t for time. Time is a gift of love from God that we may learn His love for each other and even for us to learn to love Him. For you see, if we are to love God, we are also to learn patience towards Him.
As we pray for our moments to be pain and tragedy-free and God doesn’t immediately answer those prayers, it is to teach us to have patience with Him, thus loving Him. If all our prayers were instantaneously answered, receiving the good things we ask for, there would be no time to teach us to love God. Learning to be patient, with faithful hope, that God is ultimately in control and will eventually make all things right and new and perfect is also learning to love God, through patience.
Time is a wonderful gift, one moment following by another moment, drifting in and out of our perceptions, that we may learn to be patient with others and with God. For love is patient.