Rather be late than wait

By  Sara Loftson, The Catholic Register
  • February 12, 2007
I hated catechism class as a child because I had to miss Saturday morning cartoons. But more than that I hated when catechism class ended because it meant I would have to wait. 

My parents were often late picking me up. I could never understand why all the other parents were on time, except my mom or dad.

They usually had a reasonable excuse such as they needed to catch up on grocery shopping after a long work week. But at 12, I didn’t care why they were late — all that mattered was that they were.

Those feelings of neglect, rejection, anxiety came flooding back recently as I  waited for my dad to pick me up after work for a dinner date. I waited in the lobby for 45 minutes, pacing around, watching the cars drive by. After about 30 minutes I realized I didn’t have to be that little girl waiting in the lobby, feeling forgotten about; I’m an adult now. I can go home or go back up to the office and surf the Internet.

But something stopped me. I decided to wait in that lobby until my dad arrived. For some reason I didn’t want to dull my feelings of disappointment.

I started to think about how amongst my friends I’ve become notorious for being late. I decided a long time ago that I’d rather be late than wait. It’s a pride thing really. Having to wait signals to me that my time isn’t important, I’m not important. Yet, I want to matter, especially to my father.

Even though I understand that human love is imperfect and only God the Father loves unconditionally, as a young adult I still want to see my father as a hero, as flawless. I don’t want to doubt his love for me.

Maybe Jesus felt similarly when He cried out on the cross during His crucifixion: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 28:46). 

I stopped pacing and began to pray for guidance. 

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection pain is never without reason. I thought about the suffering Jesus experienced on the cross and instead of getting more upset I united my suffering to His, turning my pain into faith, hope and love. I decided to turn over my anxiety to Jesus and ask Him to use this offering to pour spiritual graces on others. 

I thought about all the children out there whose fathers had abandoned their families. All those children who’ve suffered the pain of divorce or separation. All those kids who are waiting for their mom to see them star in their school play, but she never shows up.

When I broadened my perspective, remembering all the suffering in the world, it made my own problem seem quite tiny and God’s love infinite.

Perhaps God stopped me from  walking away from my pain because the more adult thing to do was to wait, confront my pride and forgive my father for being late.

When I got into the car my dad  said he got confused about where to pick me up. I cracked a joke about how old age must be setting in.

Although I still felt some pent up resentment toward my father, I kept asking Christ to take away my frustration and, as the evening progressed, He did.

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