The Patience Principle – The journey with others is slower than the journey alone.
I experienced the reality of this principle recently when I was traveling abroad with my husband, my parents, my brother, and my grandparents. Of the seven of us, most had little to no international travel experience coming into the trip, but my grandparents had been to our destination many times. They knew the routes, the towns, they knew where we’d be going, what we’d be doing, and the people we would meet up with. And they were TSA pre-checked.
Had it been just the two of them traveling, they would have zoomed through the airport and been off on their way. Yet their patience prevailed when we all, in small waves of two or three, slowly made our way through the airport to print our boarding passes, move through security and the necessary airport checkpoints, asking many questions along the way (What gate do we need? What do I need to take out of my carry-on? Can I keep my shoes on? Do I need my passport for this? What’s our gate number again?).
It struck me in the airport one day that this is such a picture of life. The more people we involve in our journey, the slower we’ll move.
Yet as an inexperienced international traveler, I was extremely thankful to have my grandparents with us, who had been there before and knew what they were doing, to help guide the way. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been going on that trip. They helped us get where we were going.
In life, it’s much the same. Whether we’re the people leading the way, or we’re following close behind, the journey is slower with others than it would be traveling on our own. Yet the journey together is more rewarding, and together, we’re able to go farther than we could alone. Together, we have a larger pool of strengths, perspectives, and life experiences. On this journey of life, we need one another.
When we get to the destination, or climb to the top of the mountain, it’s a pretty lonely feeling to have no one to celebrate with. But climbing together, encouraging, and spurring on one another makes that breathtaking view at the top that much more rewarding, and there is great joy in celebrating progress, celebrating team, celebrating together.
In the midst of the slowness, when our progress may feel like it’s coming to a halt, it’s time to take a second look. Instead of viewing others as weights holding us back, seek out the specific and unique strengths and resources others bring to the team. How can we empower and utilize their personality and giftings? We need each other.
The slower journey is worth it to walk together. Alone we may go faster, but together we go farther and can truly reach the highest heights.