Dear friends,

Time is a crazy thing. Remember when you were a kid, and it seemed like forrrevvver between birthdays and Christmases? Grownups would talk about how fast time was passing, and that sounded bonkers. A day was a long time, a week even longer – and we had an eternity to wait before we were grownups too.

Ah, now we know. Time really does fly.

But here’s the thing – our culture has conditioned us to expect instant results. Everything has to be fast and easy, quick and effortless. So our sense of time gets bifurcated, split in two. On the one hand, time flies … on the other, results seem to come too slowly. We “cram” for exams, and feel angry that we can’t learn and process a lot of information overnight. We try to adopt a positive new habit, like eating well or exercising regularly, but give up when we don’t see instant results.

How do we deal with this? How do we stick with a process when results are slow in coming?

I like the old metaphor of sowing and reaping.

A farmer sows a crop, plants seeds in the ground. A slow process begins. With sunshine, water, and care, the seeds will sprout and grow. The plants will mature over a long season. Not all of the plants will grow to maturity (some will be washed away, some will be eaten by animals, some will dry up through neglect), but if the farmer perseveres, there will eventually be a crop to reap. Will it be exactly like the crop the farmer anticipates? Maybe not, but there will be more at the end than there was at the beginning.

In our modern culture, perhaps we have lost sight of this idea that every endeavor takes time and nurturing in order to mature. That we can do a little every day, and the positive effects will accumulate. We become frustrated too soon, and allow our crops to die from neglect – I do this, and I imagine you do too.

When the wait gets hard, when the results don’t come fast enough, I remind myself of this idea. The good stuff takes time, and the wait is frustrating – but that doesn’t mean I should give up. Most of the time, it means I need to stick with it a little longer.