I plan to post just once a week, but this topic is weighing on my mind today. Most everyone has heard the phrase, “patience is a virtue,” at some point in their life. Some more than others if they have a particular struggle with this particular virtue. I have heard this many times, and I think it might actually be the only virtue. Why is it that our culture puts so much value on patience? It seems rather odd to even ask such a question in a world filled with smart phones, diet drugs, and fast food restaurants. However, there must be some value to patience if that colloquialism is so prevalent.
Perhaps patience is so important because we have forgotten how to be patient. It is so easy to become aggravated when something isn’t happening as quickly or in the manner that you would like. We’ve been conditioned to expect things yesterday and customized to our exact preference. I find patience to be a major reoccurring theme in my life. I become impatient with my husband, my son, and myself. It often seems that after the moment of impatience passes, that I am able to see with clarity that events would have gone much more smoothly if I had just let things unfold as they needed to, rather than trying to bend them to my will. Now, in general, I am a pretty easy-going individual and am able to take life as it comes, but just like many of you, when I’m in a hurry, in the middle of my own project, tired, hungry, etcetera, my easy-going nature can go on a brief vacation.
Lately, I have been reflecting on how practicing extra patience can make one’s life much more enjoyable. It can be difficult at times, but I DO NOT enjoy being frustrated, aggravated, or angry. Those three emotions do not bring me any closer to my goals and often set me back (granted, reacting to them in a proactive manner does help). I am working on taking a moment to pause when I begin to feel impatience creeping into my consciousness. In that pause I can ask myself, “What’s the rush? Does this change in plans really matter? Is my impatience doing harm to someone else? What can I find to be joyful about in this moment?”
If I am a true believer that life is a journey and that true joy in life is to be found in our daily living, why be impatient? It is the times that plans fall apart, your day gets interrupted, and the instruction booklet goes missing that we are truly living and likely making memories we will never forget. Approaching life with the attitude that there is always knowledge to be gained or a lesson to be learned can help turn impatience into something that, at the very least, doesn’t make you want to poke your eyes out.