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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

I have often lamented that my patience could use improvement. Being patient means waiting out the tiresome habits of others. My husband tries my patience. It often seem deliberate to me. When I need assistance with something, I had better be ready to wait as help will not arrive until he has completed whatever task is currently occupying his time. As a young mother, I was often frustrated waiting for little ones to finish a chore. Children are so easily distracted by the world around them. If an ant crosses their path, you can be sure it will be followed; its body studied and the purpose of its mission discovered.

In my more pious days, I often prayed to the Lord for more patience. What the Lord bestowed upon me were more ways to practice at being patient. “Lord” I would lament, “just bless me with patience as I don’t have time for practice.” But practice it was to be. So that I would get plenty of it, the Good Lord saw fit to set me down with 130 people for whom I would need the ultimate practice in patience. They are all very fine people, but they never seem happy or satisfied. They are too cold. They are too hot. There is a hum in the ceiling above them. My in-box fills daily with complaint upon complaint. It is part of my work to iron out their complaints. It’s never ending. I cease to have compassion for their plight.

Recently I came upon this definition of patience:

Patience is quiet hope and trust that things will turn out right. You wait without complaining. You are tolerant and accepting of difficulties and mistakes. You picture the end in the beginning and persevere to meet your goals. Patience is a commitment to the future. *

I’m supposed to picture the end in the beginning? Persevere? A commitment to the future? What a revelation! If I had understood this definition of patience sooner I would not have wasted so much valuable time with being frustrated at my circumstance. In my personal life, my friends are finding me critical and annoyed at their every word. In my professional life, I’m intolerant of what appears to me to be half hearted efforts.

It seems I have been looking at this patience thing all wrong. Recently I decided to wait out a situation rather than demand a result immediately. I will wait to see how it unfolds. I didn’t know that was being patient! I thought I was being self-disciplined. I recognize that I do have a goal in mind. I will try this perseverance thing. If the definition above is correct, I will be gratified when my goal is met.

The waiting without complaining will take effort. I complain to vent frustration. I will need a plan to overcome my habit of complaining. Possibly holding the goal before me will help me focus. Reason seems to indicate that your focus will drive your actions toward that end.

In motorcycle training courses you are told again and again to look where you want the motorcycle to go. If you do so, the motorcycle will go there without fail. Once you focus on the object you are trying to avoid, you will surely hit it. This seems a good analogy to use for patience as well!

Author's Note:

A few years ago, I wrote the piece above during a trying time I wished to overcome. In my frustration over the hurdles I am now encountering in bringing home the new bike, I dug this out to help me persevere. Maybe it will help you too with a circumstance in your own life.

*Reference

3 comments:

fasthair said...

Ms. Pat: Are you trying to tell me something? :) With each new post I see in my blog roll I think... could it be? Then I get here and I am told to wait and be happy about it?!?! sigh

gghiker said...

Yes, patience is a virtue. It's one of my weaknesses. I have to work on it continuously. Sometimes I just react and other people sense my impatience. It's my expectation of what others are supposed to do that I have problems with. Letting go of the expectations is what helps me the most.

Baron's Life said...

A very well written piece. Have totally enjoyed reading it. I can see the writer in you. Hope you get that motorcycle soon