Patience is a virtue…

February 12th, 2009 by Karen

This past Sunday when Joel and I renewed our vows, one of the readings at Mass was Corinthians 1:1-13 and although it’s oft quoted to the point of becoming trite, it’s still a lovely message. Love, unconditional love, is patient. It is kind. It endures always.

I am not the most patient person in the world. I have known this for a long time and regretably, so have those around me that I love the most. I come by it naturally I’m afraid. (Like father, like daughter!) I do not go through life with a happy and overabundant spirit. I usually start my day grouchy and impatient and I end it thinking impatiently of all the stuff I still have to do but have to wait on since it’s bed time. Impatience, perfectionism, and proscrastination are a bad combination.

Recently, my friend Mike suggested that I read The Tao of Inner Peace by Diane Dreher. Keep in mind that I DEVOUR books and can read 700 pages in a day with little trouble. This book has forced me to slow down and start taking things to heart. I’ve been reading it for a week and I’m only about 20 pages in. It’s frustrating and cathartic at the same time. It’s been a long time since I did serious self-discernment and examined my soul and boy…it needs some help.

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22

I have been striving towards several of these in my life lately, but I haven’t been particularly focused on patience. Joel can tell you, I sit in my chair and grumble away most of the day. The spam annoys me, the temperature of the house, the stack of bills, the constant “mommommommom” of our littlest one, the misplaced notes that are somewhere on my desk but elude me until I no longer need them. Each minor irritation has its tongue lashing or harrumph from me. He has the patience of Job to put up with me, I know. I would have up and moved my desk to another room by now.

The more I reflect on the idea of patience, the larger a concept it becomes. Not only does it encompass my day to day attitude and interactions, but it directly affects my joy, my capacity to love, my inner peace. My lack of patience prevents me from being the gentle and kind person I want to be and throws my self-control out the window, at least where things like chocolate are concerned. Patience does not mean being a complacent doormat, but being proactive in the face of difficult or annoying circumstances.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. ~Ephesians 4:2

The last thing I want -ever- is for my children to be afraid of upsetting me or look back on their childhood and say “gee, Mom sure yelled a lot”. I need to learn to not sweat the small stuff, to take a breath before I criticize, to remember what impatience looks like through their eyes, because I was them once. I feel like I’m starting to make a little progress…seeing fragments of color flashing through my peripheral vision in a sea of gray and black.

It’s like patiently climbing a long spiral staircase, you can’t see the top, you can’t see the bottom, but you know each landing is higher than the last. If you’re patient enough and persevere, eventually you’ll see the sky.

Posted in Family, Life, Tuesday's Topic | 4 Comments

4 Responses to ' Patience is a virtue… '

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  1. southbeachannie said,
    on February 14th, 2009 at 4:24 am

    What a purge! Isn’t brutal honesty and self reflection liberating? I think the moment you pull out the impatience within and confront it you free yourself of its shackles. Brava!!

  2. jgoode said,
    on February 16th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I can relate to the point that I started to tear up at your “gee mom…” comment. I feel exactly the same! I think one of the most difficult things to learn is not only patience but my own view of what needs to be “perfect” which then triggers the impatient reactions. Or maybe not perfect per-say but a certain that I see it needs to be. So in this case, maybe it’s not just patience but more acceptance of others’ perspectives and solutions.. etc.

    I think the simple fact that you see all this and know it about yourself is the biggest hurdle you will need to face. I also think, if you stop watching the steps you’re taking, and look up ahead, you might find the sky is all around you – it’s possible. I applaud you for taking the first step! – now stick on those walking shoes and keep going, I’ll come with you. 😉

  3. Lisa Riolo said,
    on February 18th, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you, Karen, for sharing so openly and honestly. My hope is that, in addition to being patient with others, you remain patient with yourself.

  4. Karen said,
    on February 18th, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks Lisa, I’m slowly learning to do that! 🙂

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