Appreciating the Gift of Patience
February 19, 2018
Every year has its seasons. And even with the two months I've been in Kampala so far I feel as though I have seen many seasons. But the last few weeks have really been about patience and joy through discouragement.
Patience has been one of the things that I never feel I ever have enough of, and just when I think "yeah I'm doing okay in this area", God humbles me and I realize just how far I still have to go to truly be a patient person.
Kampala is a place that constantly shows me how in need I am; how much I have to learn and how weak I actually am. I remember how out of sorts I felt the first time I was here back in May 2015, and how much my friend and wonderful auntie Terri said, "don't worry about not being able to do many things in a day. In Uganda, everything takes 5 times as long to get done, and at the end of the day, although you've done 5 times less, you are still 5 times as tired at the end of the day."
I feel as though I'm getting more used to that strange pace. In Vancouver, I could get 20 things done a day and be tired at the end of the day, but feel fine, and then go out at night. Here, I can do maybe 3 things a day, and anything after that makes me exhausted and ready to crash on my bed at 8pm. Part of it is the heat, part of it is the chaos and dust everywhere. And culturally everything is very intense, but I still love it.
And then there are some days where I just get so tired of everything, frustrated at how long everything takes to get done, angry at the taxi (bus) drivers and boda boda men and the girls who knock me when I try to walk and people people people everywhere all the time. I love this place, but there are times when everything gets so overwhelming and it's at those times when I am reminded just how much I really CAN'T do this on my own; I can't do life on my own. It requires God to lead me and give me strength and courage and patience for the things that drive me crazy.
Even though I'm now in a house with a family who is Ugandan American, and as at home as I feel in this place, there are times like today where I really miss everyone back in Vancouver. I miss my parents and my dogs and my aunts and uncles and sister and brothers and cousins and crazy art friends from UBC…some days the feeling of distance really gets to me. These are the days where I really wish I could just have someone just KNOW how I'm feeling, without me saying anything, and give me a big hug and let me cry. There is something about having someone who just gets you to know when you're down and squeeze you tight until you can't breathe.
When these days come where everything seems to be driving me crazy, and I get frustrated with myself for being frustrated with others, God reminds me that I need to be patient with MYSELF as well as others, and have grace for myself just as much as with others. The problem is not the frustration, it's the belief that I can do this on my own - which is a lie. And so then God gently reminds me, as only He can, that HE is the one who sustains me. I have to keep seeking Him and surrendering to Him. It's a daily thing - not when I find myself with my face in mud. He is where I find all my strength and patience and grace; He is the wellspring of life. So on a day like today when I am upset and weary and impatient, I praise my God in heaven who dwells within me through His Spirit that I am not in charge, and He is…'cause seriously, He can do it WAY better than I can.