My Capacity To Patiently Accept Delays Is Running On Empty
I understand patience to mean the ability to wait out delays, trouble, or suffering while still behaving responsibly. Responsible behavior would mean acting without getting frustrated, upset, and being a pain in the neck to others who need to be around you. Ed, my old neighbor, likes the saying that patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.
I make excuses for little folks having a temper tantrum because it’s likely a temporary way of showing impatience when they don’t get what they want. Hopefully, they will grow out of it. I wish I could make excuses for my age group, the old grandpa crowd. If I could, I would suggest that we have used up whatever patience we had at our age, and our bodies are unable to produce any more of it. So far, they have not developed a shot, pill, or infusion for patience. Even if they did, the ones of us who needed it most wouldn’t likely realize it.
I have found in my long lifetime that when I have needed patience most, I seemed to have failed to display any. That is why I like the traditional Hebrew story about Abraham, as told by Thomas Lindberg. According to the story, one evening, Abraham was sitting outside his tent when he saw an old man, weary from age and his journey, coming near his tent. Abraham rushed out to the old man, greeted him, and invited him into his tent. There Abraham washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So, Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship God?”
The old man replied, “I worship fire only and reverence no other God.”
When Abraham heard the old man’s reply, he became incensed and ushered the old man out of his tent. The old man went on his way.
When the old man was gone, God called to Abraham and inquired where the old man was that he had taken into his tent. Abraham explained that he had sent the old man on his way because he did worship Him (God).
God answered, “Abraham, I have been patient with that man for these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not have put up with him for one night?” (The End of the story)
At the heart of patience is the ability to endure and stick out a troubling or even painful situation. Being patient as a Christian is needful because we are conscious that Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps.
(1 Peter 2: 22-24) says, “Jesus committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him, who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds, you have been healed.”
St. Frances de Sales said wisely, “Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.”