I remember the moment I asked God for the gift of patience standing in front of the boxes for each family member of the church, I was fourteen, maybe fifteen and a newish member of said church. As a sign of our obedience to God, our call to prayer, and submission to the authority in our lives women wore simple head coverings. I wasn’t aware, for whatever reason, of the decision of the women not only to have their heads covered but their hair up, rather than in the French Braid I sported that morning. My beyond-waist-length hair was up, at least for church, after that. And in that moment I asked God for the gift of patience. Opportunities to grow in patience abound, my ability to be patient oft seems directly related to both my own physical rest and personal stress, as well as where I am spiritually.
It is this moment when the desire to teach others was firmly implanted in my heart and mind. Because there is no better way to learn patience than to teach. Oh wait, yes there is. Work retail.
Becoming patient is, as the intervening years taught, a life-long process. It’s a journey of extending Grace to others in the midst of a moment when I’d rather not, and/or the patience in the well of my being has reached empty, allowing me the opportunity to tap into the well of divine patience, which as you might suspect, is infinitely deeper than the fairly deep, always digging well of my own heart and mind.
Love is patient.
I can see with in some small ways now how God allowed me to meet people offering opportunities to grow in patience. I can see in a couple of instances where I haven’t trusted in, given in to the well of divine patience running into the ones in need of patience. I can see where there are times when I’ve held onto some offence that needed the grace of patience ever more deeply because I knew that the person on the other end had no idea of what else was happening. Even if they did know I know that I can only speak to my heart in that moment, knowing that the well the dryness of that well of patience.
A dry well of patience often has consequences, while undesired, they exist.
Add to this desire for patience a stubborn streak a mile wide and one has the mixin’s for the opportunity to expand. Oh goodness I’m laughing because I see the humor in this. Stubborn can mean resolved, purposeful, focused. When I’m free-motion quilting that streak being a mile wide serves me well I focus so intently that the ability to tune everyone and everything out is possible. Sometimes that same stubborn streak prevents me from exercising the patience necessary for the moment as I want my way, and I want it now or I want the other to fully understand why my patience is less than optimal as I need grace extended to me in that moment. With customers and students I always want to offer a resounding, “YES!” however there are times when the necessary “no” I must offer is due to a lack of capability or availability on my part in that moment.
Being patient, listening carefully, answering thoughtfully and meaningfully is my goal. This patience connotes and offers the dignity and respect to the other person I’m speaking with. A lack of patience takes the experience of dignity and respect out of the conversation. While not intended it is a natural consequence. I am deeply grateful for those moments when patience is flowing; and experience sorrow and shame when I’ve been impatient.
One of the deeper lessons learned is that patience is kindness is love for it bears all things, hopes and actively seeks the best for the other, and brings peace. Peace I’m coming to understand, is not so much a lack of conflict but rather an acceptance and an extension of grace and mercy.
Peace be with you,