One of Jacob and Merry’s favorite Sunday afternoon activities — and by extension one of my favorite things to do on a Sunday afternoon — was reading the beautiful Saint George and the Dragon together. We’d read the book and then act it out, taking turns as George, Una, the dragon.
To be honest, I had very little respect for Una. Girl, I know you’re a princess, but why aren’t you killing your own dragon? I always thought while reading the story. It seems like a bit of a cop-out — a dragon is ravaging her kingdom, so she goes off to find a knight to kill the dragon, brings him back, and then goes and waits off to the side while he’s locked in mortal combat with the beast.
I mean, really.
At least she could help George.
It’s been a growing consideration for me, over the course of this year, that perhaps Una’s role is no easier and no less vital than George’s. That, if anything, it may be harder.
It is hard to wait and watch and witness desperate struggles, interceding for protection and salvation from an unseen Helper. When friends or family or students are struggling for something, I desperately want to rush in and kill their dragons. Whether it’s depression or drug addiction or loneliness or a sense of purposelessness, I (like Inigo Montoya, to thoroughly mix stories) hate waiting. I want to skip ahead to the happily-ever-after, to the wedding, to the day when the kingdom is in a state of perfect shalom and everyone can celebrate.
But that is not my role. The ongoing narrative of redemptive history is not mine to write. It is neither possible nor appropriate for me to be the hero who sets all things to rights any more than it would be right for Una to go kill George’s dragon. Her fitting and right job was to wait and watch and make intercession for George’s safekeeping, for the downfall of the dragon. It was his adventure, not hers.
So while I hate waiting, I am working on learning from Una how to wait with more grace and fortitude, how to witness without rushing into take over fights that are not mine. And on learning to trust that faithfully fulfilling those responsibilities is an integral part of how the story is written and how the victory is won.