A Voice from the Little Chair

This is a new feature for our website. In this space I will offer a “Story for All Ages.” It may be a review of the Sunday story or a new story that might spark a conversation at the dinner table. Please feel free to comment. — Fred

The strains of the opening hymn came to an end as Fred moved to the front of the pulpit. There he placed a small box on the floor and slowly lowered himself into the little chair. He began:

This morning’s Story for All Ages is about patience, but first I want to plant some tomatoes. I love tomatoes, and I really want a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch.

Fred took a small pot out of the box along with a bag of potting soil. Next he opened an envelope of seeds and placed a few below the surface of the soil. After the seeds were planted, Fred sprinkled water into the pot. Then he put everything down and started to stare with anticipation. His mouth began to water as he thought about the sandwich.

“I sure am hungry,” he thought. “I hope I get some tomatoes soon. Maybe if I told a story the time would pass faster.” And so he did.

A long time ago there was a very religious monk. The monk knew he needed to learn to have more patience with the people around him. He knew it would make him a better person if he were more patient. So, he went into the wilderness to learn patience.

He lived alone for many years, and in the wilderness he was sure he was becoming a patient person, until one day. On that day  the monk was visited by a stranger who had been lost and stumbled onto the monk’s home. The stranger was tired and hungry, so the monk gave him food and a place to rest.

When the stranger awoke, he was very grateful to the monk and wanted to do something to repay his kindness. First he started to clean the cabin, but in doing so he broke the monk’s favorite cup. Then he decided to wash the monk’s clothes. But while doing that, he ripped the monk’s favorite shirt. As a final gift, he started to cook the monk a dinner, but he burned the monk’s food.

Fred glanced over at his tomato pot  to see if anything had grown. It hadn’t.

Back to the story. Finally the monk lost his temper, and he ordered the man to leave.  The monk could not stand any more interruptions as he studied to become patient.

Patience can only be leaned through practice.  It cannot be learned when you are alone in the wilderness unless you are trying to catch a fish. It cannot be learned by ignoring those around you. It can only be learned by being with people and by understanding that most people are only trying to help, even when they break your favorite cup. Patience is best learned when we know that sometimes we must wait but that the wait is worthwhile.

With that Fred returned to his tomato plant. With his elbows on his knees and his chin in his hands he smiled and stared at the pot and waited.