Today my thoughts are about patience. Haha.
My first thought is that patience is one of those words that instantly makes people feel guilty. Well, not today. Today, we are going to love it.
You’ve encountered the beauty of patience if you’ve ever gotten up before dawn with a baby, stayed up late to listen to a teenager explain a relationship, or waited for a parent to finish a lecture…remember that, when you were a kid? My kids are doing it now.
Or if you’ve asked God. For anything.
Patience is involved in many of the priceless moments that create the layers of life.
I like to define patience this way; “I wait and wait and wait with a smile.” While waiting is inevitable, smiling is a choice. This is why, though we all have the same pressures, only some grow in character.
We all know people who have made it to the end of life and still possess very little of it. They still yell and fuss and fume. They still roll their eyes when someone gets in their way. They still tap their fingers on the table when their waiter is slow. They still cut you short when your explanation is too long.
I do this, at times. I admit.
Patience, as with every virtue, is chosen in the moment, and chosen again in the next. We choose it because we understand its value.
We embrace occasions to use patience, instead of avoiding them. We let it sink deep into the grain of our thinking. It is like a fine patina that builds up, becoming priceless over time. You can’t rush patience…kind of ironic.
Opportunities to face our deficiencies abound. Look no further than roadways, shopping malls, inflatable air mattresses, and, well just about anywhere. Why, just this morning I wanted to walk our dog, but we’re in a new neighborhood with new smells and unmet dog-neighbors. It’s practically impossible to walk in a straight line. We didn’t go because “I just didn’t have the patience for it” Which is exactly why I should’ve…and why I will, after having written this.
It is important to note that today’s character prepares us for tomorrow’s victories. Those we choose and those thrust upon us.
Our choices in little moments determine how we will handle the larger ones…ones packed with purpose; like homeschooling our kids, learning a foreign language, or writing a novel. Maybe even taking the whole family on road-trip across America. I’ve personally never done this, but I took mine to Africa in a 747, and trust me, it took some patience. But it was unbelievable. Memories were made. Friends were discovered. Dreams were realized. I am smiling just thinking about it.
Would a mere lack of patience rob you?
Choosing patience in little moments can even prepare us for difficult circumstances we could not anticipate. In my life, that would be cancer. And cancer treatment. And recovering from the side effects of cancer treatment. Ugg. In situations like these, without patience we would be constantly agitated and frankly, quite miserable to be around. If we already have patience, we are equipped to relax and embrace the process, and heal. This same pattern can be used in countless situations.
Here are some practical benefits to living a life of patience.
- With Patience, my “wait and see” is often rewarded with “that was better than I expected!”
- With Patience, I make things easier for others by graciously waiting.
- With Patience, I am not pushy or controlling.
- With Patience, I don’t get frustrated or bored when others are slow.
- With Patience, I save money and invest and my future benefits from it.
- With Patience, I wait for the best solution.
- With Patience, I hear the whole conversation before I answer.
- With Patience, I keep from rushing and hushing my kids through life.
- With Patience, I make the best use of resources.
- With Patience, I don’t add unnecessary pressure to situations.
- With Patience, I am positioned for opportunities I can’t see from my present position.
- With Patience, my anger has little to fuel it.
- With Patience, my stress is alleviated, eased, lessened, lightened.
- With patience, I am a joy to be around.
So, here’s to walking dogs, watching snails cross the lawn, and other acts of valor. Here’s to patience.
Heather McMillan, We Choose Virtues
What are your thoughts on patience? Put them in the comments!