Our youngest grandchild, five-year old Catherine, had watched over the past couple of years as her mother had daily prepared and packed a school lunch for Catherine’s older sister, Madeleine. At long last, Catherine was about to start K-5; she would wear a uniform like the “big kids,” and she was getting a brand-new backpack and a wonderful, new lunch box. Finally, the day arrived when the new backpack and the lunch box were delivered for her as well as for Madeleine. Mom (Lori) had the backpacks and the lunch boxes monogrammed, both in cursive writing because Catherine had insisted that hers be in cursive just like her big sister Madeleine’s. Catherine was so excited that she insisted on packing her own lunch box (and her mom agreed) even though it was still three or four weeks until school would actually start. Needless to say, after a couple of days, the lunch box had to be emptied and cleaned in preparation for the day that it would really be time to pack a lunch.
The night before Catherine’s first day of school, she informed her dad that she would pack her own lunch. Since the requested sandwich for the day was PB&J, Dad (Michael) offered to help by fixing the sandwich, and then she could put everything into her lunch box. The next morning, they arrived at school and before they got out of the car, Catherine had one more request of her mother: write a note to be put into her lunch box. You see, Catherine had often watched as her mother wrote a sweet I-love-you;-have-a-great-day kind of note to be put into Madeleine’s lunch box. And just to be sure that her mother did it right, Catherine dictated the note for her mother to write. Oh, and, of course, she wanted it written in cursive. We figured that she did that so that at lunch she could “read” (from memory) to her friends the note her mom had written.
Eager to find out how their first day had gone, Lori was at school at 3:00 sharp to pick up the girls. Catherine was not nearly as excited as her mother had thought she would be, but she rattled off a few things about her day when her mother inquired. Then, looking a little irritated, she said, “But I still can’t read!” Obviously, her first day of school had not quite lived up to her expectations. Not only had she expected to learn to read on her first day, she had expected to learn to read (cursive)--by lunchtime! That’s why she had requested the lunchbox note be written in cursive. Whereas we had thought that at lunch, she would “read” (from memory) the note from her mom, she had thought that she would actually be able to read the note (in cursive!) from her mom.
Poor Catherine--the first of many expectations in her life to be shot down, and she was not a happy camper about it! She didn’t realize that there was so much to learn before she could read cursive writing, so many skills she had to master; all she knew was that she wanted to be able to read cursive now! She reminded me so much of her Aunt Kristy (our other daughter) who, as a young child, didn’t want to learn to do anything (like roller skate); she wanted to just already know how to do everything. It was a real challenge to explain to her that things don’t just automatically happen; she would need to be patient and keep working on her skills. (Even though she has improved greatly, patience is still not one of her strong points---but her mother loves her anyway.)
We can probably all relate to Catherine’s dilemma—expecting something to turn out better than it does, not getting the raise that we deserved and asked for, praying for a specific outcome in a health situation and not getting it--so many other expectations in our lives shot down. At some time or another, God must surely look at each of us as a little “Catherine” or a little “Kristy,” not wanting to wait but wanting to have our wishes fulfilled yesterday. He must look at us sometimes and think, “You’re not ready for that; you’ve still got some growing to do” or “There are so many things you must learn before you can advance to what you’re really wanting to do” or “That’s not what I want for you; what I have for you is so much better” or “I know you don’t understand now, but this will work for good” or “You’ve got to learn to be more patient.”
For me, personally, sometimes it comes down to one little word—Faith. Do I really, truly, completely trust God in every area of my life? I have had a little sign on my desk for quite some time. Based on Matthew 9:29, the sign reads, “Whatever your faith says God is, He will be.” I’m a little slow sometimes figuring things out, but I finally realized that what that sign means is that sometimes I hinder God from doing what He wants to do for me because of my lack of faith. Shame on me!