Have a little patience

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chuck E. Cheese. The sight of that place never fails to release memories. And since it’s right next to the fabric store where I frequently shop, the past is often revisited.

When the children were young, it seemed as though the second I thought about Chuck E. Cheese, my Suburban would fill with kids (mine and others). You probably know the drill. Once entering, your party’s hands are stamped with the same number. The purpose of this is to prevent you from leaving with someone else’s child. Like I was ever going to let that happen! It would have been far more beneficial had they stamped my hand with the number of children I brought in because I have been known to leave a place before everyone was back in the car. (My children would be happy to share these stories if you are interested in details.)

The next step is to surrender your credit card in exchange for a couple of pizzas and some tokens. Then the fun really starts. You pick a table in the center of the game room so that you can monitor every child you brought. The tokens are quickly replaced with tickets won, and just when you think it’s all over, you have to stand in line to exchange the tickets for prizes.

 This was always the worst part of the trip for me. The kids took so long to choose their loot, and understanding their excitement, I never tried to rush them along. They treasured the trinkets they had worked to earn.

Only one time do I remember my husband taking the kids to Chuck E. Cheese without me. When they arrived home, I said, “Let’s see the prizes! What did y’all get this time?”

 “Nothing,” they answered, “Daddy said you would bring us back to get the prizes.”

 I was then handed a bag full of tickets. I turned to my husband with a look that demanded an explanation. All I got was, “The line was too long.”

 At least he was honest. He could have justified his action, or lack thereof, as a lesson in delayed gratification. Rather than display disappointment over the outcome of the trip, the kids were already planning the next one. Their patience far exceeded mine.

 Patience is a quality I hesitate praying for because I know the minute I do, I will be put in a position to exercise it. I want the line to move quickly, I want the results of my effort to be instantaneous, I want the problem to be resolved in 30 minutes like it is in sitcoms, and I don’t want to attend a movie where the character I have grown to love dies at the end. I want happily ever after. Here. Now. Immediately.

But real live life doesn’t always happen like that. Sometimes we can do all of the right things, pray the proper prayers, and still have to wait for the results. And this is when Galatians 6:9 becomes the promise to which we cling. “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

 The complete blessing of doing good may not be here, but there. It may not arrive now, but then. We might not see it immediately, but in a little while. On the other side of the sun, over the rainbow… in Heaven. But it will be worth the wait.

Ronny may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.