The last few months I've been going to the grocery store and buying a mango each week.
Mangoes are sweet, so rich and nostalgic.
I was 15 the first time I can remember eating a mango.
We were in the Bahamas for a mission trip with my youth group.
We weren't near a resort with a waterslide or poolside service with free virgin daiquiri (I was 15), rather in an impoverished, yet a beautifully content community.
Months before that had been struck by a hurricane and our youth group went for a week to help rebuild homes and lead a Vacation Bible School for local kids.
One evening I walked down to the beach with Kit and Gary, removing ourselves from the group like we were told not to do. The waves crashed in the distance as we stumbled upon a mango tree. Locals were eating them nearby and we did as they did.
I ripped one off the tree, rubbed it on my shirt and bit into like an apple.
They yelled from a distance, waving their arms with a big smile and told me to peel it.
I had no idea.
It didn't look like a banana.
We began to peel them with the pocket knives we had purchased from the Flea Market back home. I slowly removed the green and yellow skin as mango juice ran down my arm, leaving a trail of sticky.
And it was worth it.
Nothing had tasted so pure.
I never knew what my life had been missing until I tasted a mango.
Each week I wait for my store-bought, $0.99 mango to become ripe enough to eat.
My patience is tested daily.
Like time, patience can be cruel and straining.
Patience is birthed from expectation as we endure for something greater to arrive.
For all I have come to know I am beginning to see patience is confidence that is ready and willing to continue through the pain and unknown.
In patience we are purified, slowed down to see with clear eyes as our selfishness and desperation is refocused, handing us perspective and understanding in return.
Our appreciation grows with our longing, like Christmas or following a losing sports team.
And it is in seasons of patience I watch God work.
Patience, though it is painful, is the way to so much more.
To something so sweet.
It's as if patience holds a promise for us.