It was the day to wear green. St. Patrick’s Day. Or as my 4 year old calls it “Green Holiday.”

There are years I forget (and risk getting pinched). But this year, we did it!

The problem? We did it early.

Monday, it was Dennis. Tuesday, Jack and myself.

(That was the day I realized the problem.)

But I still didn’t learn my lesson. Wednesday, Trevor wore green. Oops.

Sydney? She never wore green. I’m not sure she even owns any.

That’s the issue. We each have one green thing (well, except for Dennis. Apparently the guy is a leprechaun in hiding. He could have worn green every day this week). So, realizing we each wore it early meant one thing: I would be doing laundry before Thursday. 

In general, it’s nice to be early. That’s not something I know much about. Every day, when we pull into the school parking lot, my preschooler asks “are we late?” [I once asked him if he knew what “early” meant and he looked at me with a blank stare. I guess that’s not (yet) our thing.]

We don’t rise early. We use every single minute of the morning to do only the tasks absolutely required. The first grader has 16 minutes to get ready for school in the morning: breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, shoes on.

Every minute counts.

Today, we realized he had one homework page still to do. The assignment? A page of clocks and he was to write down what time they showed. He looked at me, grinning ear to ear:

“But Mom, I don’t have any time!

That is our life these days, rushing out the door relatively on time, circling back for important things like sunscreen, antibiotics and shoes and then really rushing.

In the occasional situation when we are early to something, I celebrate on the inside. Pride. Relief. Wonderment. What could these extra 5 minutes bring? Places look different when you are 5 minutes early. They just do.

But sometimes, early is not helpful.  Sometimes early means more work. Sometimes early is frustrating.

When I show up early places, I don’t always know what to do. There are times it is socially stressful. People grouped in conversation – where should I insert myself? If I don’t have a function, a mission, a purpose, I feel a bit lost, even anxious. I fumble with my phone. I scan the crowd for someone I have an excuse to talk to. I watch the clock.

Oddly enough, when I’m taking a class, I tend to front load the work. I don’t like being pressed at the end. I don’t like the risk of running out of time to complete an assignment. So, I do it early. Always. I set false deadlines and finish the job. About 90% of the time, this works out well. The problem comes when the professor changes the assignment. Then, I’m left with double work. This has happened more times than I can count.

Many people voted early in the weeks leading up to the primaries. As a result, some ended up voting for candidates no longer in the race by Primary Day.

Early can come back to bite ya.

Being early for church, baseball, preschool, a birthday party, a meeting – those are some of my proudest achievements. Being early for St. Patrick’s Day is most definitely not.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced God being early. I’ve most certainly feared Him being late. That’s how Lazarus’ sisters and village reacted when Jesus waited to go to see the dying man. (John 11) Along the lines of “if you had come when we asked, he wouldn’t have died!”

My timetables for God aren’t always life or death, but generally, I would prefer Him to err on the early side of things.

Jesus’ timing of waiting and going to Lazarus reflected the bigger picture of what God was doing. He revealed Himself in a way beyond what Martha, Mary and their neighbors expected. They wanted early. They wanted on time. They most certainly did not want late.

Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'”
John 11:21

But had he been early, they would have missed the whole enchilada. Jesus – to them the village healer – revealed Himself as God, the Messiah, the One with resurrection power. Jesus brought them the Gospel by not being early.

I want assurances. I want certainties. I want to know the plan. I want to see the plans laid out before they unfold. I want God to be early. But if He is early, I miss out on His glory.

And missing out on God’s glory is much more disappointing than missing out on “Green Holiday.”


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