I was reminded this weekend, at a Write by the River Retreat, of unanswered prayers and patience.
Years ago we owned what I called “a snug little cabin in the woods,” in the Pocono Mountains. I’d woken early and thought I should take a walk to the lake for some of nature’s inspiration. With my hot coffee in hand, I made the half mile trek down the dirt road to the lake. The sun was just rising. Soft wispy clouds hung over the lake. I perched on a large boulder right at the edge of the water. As I sipped my coffee I thought I should sing How Great Thou Art because God is surely an artist with the view.
A canoe was slowly coming into view, leaving ripples in the water. A few trout jumped just yards away from me. The trees rustled in a gentle breeze. I inhaled, breathing in the beauty of this moment. On the exhale, I said a prayer of gratitude for this glorious morning. Everything was perfect, but I thought “It would be even more perfect if a deer walked close to me from the woods.” No deer arrived. I sipped my coffee while I watched for my antlered friend.
Just then a huge green and brown spotted bullfrog plopped into the water so close to my left foot that it got my new sneakers wet. He swam closely, stretching his long skinny legs. I watched him for minutes admiring his stroke. He was definitely a better swimmer than I was. He came closer to me, continuing to tread water, and looked right at me. I’d never been eye to eye with a frog. He blinked. I blinked. Such a strange interaction with nature. “Where is my deer?” I asked him. I think the frog winked at me as he swam to shore.
I made the trek back to the cabin thinking that was so beautiful, but a deer would have been such a perfect addition. Later that afternoon, I drove to the grocery store. When I returned, driving down the winding mountain road, I was stopped in my tracks.
Six deer blocked my path in the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I asked for one deer this morning and it never arrived. I was sure one would come to make my morning perfect. Now I had six deer of all sizes, lined up like soldiers in my path. There was no way I could pass them. I felt tears coming and then laughter followed. “God,” I told Him, “You are really good at this.”
That’s the moment I realized that I have everything I need. I didn’t need more. How shallow was I? I was so busy wanting to see that deer, I missed totally absorbing that magnificent morning.
How often do I do that in my life? Probably more than I realize. It’s time to take a pause. The saying when gratitude goes up, blessings come down, is so true. I’m not a patient person. I want things immediately.
That day, a bullfrog taught me a very important lesson.
Patience, Anne, patience.
Slow down and enjoy the moment. There’s more to come.