Finished products

In today’s news, for the second time in two weeks I stood in front of an automatic door that wouldn’t open. Automatic doors are supposed to be like the puppies of inanimate objects – even when you feel invisible, they see you and respond. Not this time. It was the same automatic door though, both times. So I’m wondering if maybe I’m not the only one it doesn’t see.

Either way, I know my humanity isn’t determined by a door.

Speaking of humanity, I’ve been remembering lately a poster that hung in the music room at my elementary school. It was posted on the door of a cupboard at the back of the classroom by the sink, so only visible to the teacher at most times.

It had a picture of a little girl on it with a plaintive, pleading look on her face and her hands extended. In bouncy letters above her it read, “Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.”

I’m sure those teachers needed to be reminded that the raucous, distracted, squirmy kids in front of them weren’t finished becoming future contributors to society. Not that it wasn’t totally obvious that they weren’t done developing but it wasn’t obvious that we’d all end up being contributing members of society.

I’d like to make a poster of myself some days, wearing a sundress, with plastic beads around my neck and glitter and glue on my fingers, reaching out with the same saying above me.

“Be patient with me. God isn’t finished with me yet.”

Meaning, I know you’ve probably already been patient, because here I am at 22 still needing to ask you to be, but could you keep it up?

I might need to make these posters for other people in my life, too. Not like I just have to deal with so many people that require patience, but actually it’s everyone who requires patience and grace. None of us are done cooking.

I don’t know if the people who made that poster had some idea that God would be finished with that little girl pictured when she got a little older. They probably just knew how much patience can be needed with little people. I’m sure most of us who have been walking with God for any length of time could attest that we’re just getting started. There really is no finishing while we’re living this life on earth. I’ve never met a finished product. I kind of hope I never do. I’m not sure I could handle it.

I did think at one point that I would make it some day, that my insecurities and hang-ups and impatience and failure would one day take a backseat and I’d be the polished, kind, gracious, whole human being I always pictured I’d be. But I’m finding more and more that I’ve brought the same me on the whole journey that I’ve always been. The changes are small, so minute I hardly know I’ve changed til I get miles down the road.

I’d like to see that poster with an elderly person on it. Yeah, still not finished. Patience still requested. That might be a good tattoo, if I ever wanted to get one, just smack it across my forehead.

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