“already the hour is late”
“Sorry, Mom,” she said, panting a little. I looked up from buckling my seatbelt, a little surprised.
“What are you sorry for?” I asked. “’Cause we’re late,” she replied.
It was true, technically, but I wasn’t worried about it. We were headed to my parents’ house, but it wasn’t for a visit, really. We were dropping some things off, and helping them do a few things around the house. So when I said I wanted to be there at 10, it was just sort of a general aim, ya know? And my parents knew that.
And it wasn’t even my girl’s fault that we were leaving a little late. We were all pretty much ready at the same time. So why apologize? Because a lot of Sundays out of the year, we have dinner at my folks’ house. And on those days, when we’re visiting, I get frustrated if we’re late. If we told them we’d be there at 4, it seems rude to show up at 415. Not that they’re going to have dinner piping hot and ready at 4:00, but to a certain extent, they’ve planned around when we said we’d arrive. So if someone makes us late, I’m liable to be frustrated, and snap at them.
It’s kind of a catch-22, really. I don’t want to be rude to my parents, so I end up being rude to my kids or my husband…
So why aren’t they better at being on time? Because of days like this one, where it isn’t that big a deal. I’m mellow about it, and they can’t always tell, I guess, when it’s important to me to be on time.
But the other reason they aren’t sure what to expect from me is that I don’t always get upset, even on days I wish we were on time. Maybe I’m in a better mood, maybe I know that they did the best they could but there were circumstances prevented someone from being ready. Sunday is a day of rest, after all. Maybe my hubby’s nap went a little long… maybe my son spent a few extra minutes shooting pucks in the backyard… maybe my girl wanted to play one more song on her ukulele. I understand, and maybe that day I’m feeling like they deserve that. So I say nothing.
It’s the same “crime,” really. (Using that word very loosely of course.) But if being late is rude to my folks, then it’s rude whether I tell my kids so or not. My reaction doesn’t change the right-or-wrongness of what they’ve done. And perhaps my unpredictable reaction does them a disservice. A lack of reaction does not mean that something wrong is right.
God’s reactions to our sins are not always what we think they should be. Most of the time, I would venture to say, there is no reaction at all. I’m especially comfortable in saying that often, it’s just not a reaction that we recognize. If it’s not immediate and it’s not “eye for an eye” then we probably aren’t connecting it. Sort of the way they say you have to catch a dog in the act of doing something wrong, otherwise he’s not going to know why you are scolding him.
We’re making a mistake if we take God’s patience for granted, or if we misunderstand it to be apathy. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, as they say. What’s wrong is always wrong, and what’s right is always right. We need to do right.