Better Late than Never

I was suppose to meet Anna at 5:30. At 5:40, she was just leaving James Island, which is about 25 minutes away from my location – without rush hour traffic. *heavy sigh*

I hate it when people are chronically late. It screams “nuts to your schedule. It’s all about me.” Don’t get me wrong. Everyone is late now and then. Heck, I don’t even care so much when people are chronically late as long as they are also chronic callers to let me know they are going to be late. Just be considerate of the other person. I have a schedule, too! I said I would be there at a certain time, and I arranged my day so that I could be there when I said I would. Far be it from me to destroy your evening plans because I REALLY just needed to work out 20 more minutes. Elizabeth Elliot said that it is sin to be late because it robs people of one of their most precious resorces – time. So when people are late, I graciously tell them that it’s ok, and I will see them when they get there. Unfortunately for both of us, being gracious is also a matter of the heart, not just the outward response. In my mind, I am self-righteously preaching to them about the virtues of being considerate.

People in my life that are chronic late arrivers know that this is a sore spot with me. They know that at some point, it hurts my feelings that they didn’t care enough about me to let me know they were running late. (self-focus is nice, eh?)

So when Anna called yesterday to let me know she had misplaced her keys and needed to wait until her husband returned home so that she could use his, I sweetly said, “Ok, just call me when you get into Mount Pleasant.” Inside sounded more like, “Why is she always late?! Well, if she thinks I have all night, she is wrong. I have a lot of work to do tonight, and she will just have to understand. I mean, if you know that you are meeting someone, you should probably know where your keys are.” Enter the Holy Spirit. *resigned exhale* “Ok, God. What do You want me to do with this time?” I was thinking about how lonely 28 and unmarried can be, and how when people aren’t mindful of you, the loneliness gets heavy. I just want to know that someone I care about cares enough about me to consider me. At that moment, He opened my eyes to what it must be like to run late for a meeting with someone you know hates lateness.

“Cheryl, do you really want people you care about to be afraid of being late because they know how you feel about it? Is that really what you want?”

The truth is that my sinful, prideful heart wants to be worshipped. In my selfishness, I want people to be thinking about me. Wretched. It doesn’t matter how sweetly my words are. My heart has been far from gracious.

I want people to feel free to be late, or scatter-brained, or inconsiderate and not be afraid of the holy wrath of Cheryl’s self-righteousness. When people are late, my need to be considered is left painfully unmet. Fortunately for me, His thoughts for me are like the stars in the sky. May I be changed, and may people feel they are being welcomed, late or not, by an open heart.

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