I picked up my paper bag bird costume for the second grade class play to begin again cutting and glueing its red construction paper feathers. When I found at least twice as many red feathers glued onto it as yesterday, I looked around and caught my teacher’s eye. In her after-school hours, she’d added feathers. She saw what I couldn’t: I wasn’t going to finish my costume in time to take the stage.
I’ve never been a skilled cutter with those green-handled lefty scissors. I wasn’t cutting fast enough. She must have known that, because she never said a word. That wasn’t the last time I felt too slow. Though I feel confident of the many things I do quickly and well, there are many where I’m slower than others. Math. Cooking. Running. Figuring out details.
A new one on the list this year is grieving. In our culture, where speed is valued and hard emotions are uncomfortable, I’ve questioned my pace.
Am I doing it wrong?
Am I taking too long to heal?
But I’m learning that’s an unfair question to ask. Just like recovering from surgery holds no deadline, neither does grief.
When the world says just focus on the good, God says, “I see your pain.”
When the world says get over it, God says, “Match My pace.”
When the world says hurry up, God says, “Stay in step with Me.”
If I’m yoked to Him, I don’t need to fit into anyone else’s timetable for or expectations of me. If I’m walking where He is, if I’m leaning on Him to lead, then He is both holding the load and setting the pace.
I don’t need to wonder if I’m taking too long. I only need ask, am I with Him?
May we not declare slower, lesser.
May we not equate pace with progress.
May we simply stay in step with Him.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).