In the fall, we took our grandchildren to an indoor pool with two water slides. Fred accompanied the seven-year-old cousins up, up, up the stairs to the top of the slides, only to find out our grandson was half an inch too short to slide down. It was hard for Fred to watch one grandchild enter the slide while the other one had to walk down, down, down the stairs while a steady stream of enthusiastic children ascended.
“I feel frustrated,” our grandson lamented.
In the spring, we return to the pool. Our granddaughter discovers the forty-eight inch marker on the wall at the bottom of the slide and presses her cousin against it so she can measure him.
“You’re over the line!” she declares, and they bounce and clap with glee. Then up, up, up they go with satisfied grins.
I spend the next hour watching them climb up and slide down–over and over again. Each time the slide spits them out at the bottom, they’re ecstatic.
I can imagine how our grandson felt when he didn’t measure up. I often miss the mark and feel like I’m still paddling in the kiddie pool of life. As hard as I try, certain virtues remain out of reach. Then one day, I realize something’s changed. I see myself in a situation or hear myself in conversation and notice I have a little more kindness, a little less judgment.
I wave to the kids at the top of the slide and realize I couldn’t make growth happen any more quickly than anyone can will themselves to be taller. But, by God’s grace, we grow.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. — Galatians 5:22, 23 (NRSV)
“Measuring Up” by woodleywonderworks. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2015.
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