Time of Reflection: Patience

I’ve written before about my problem with patience. I’ve never been a patient person, with myself or others. And for some reason I didn’t have the patience to write something about this Fruit of the Spirit. Every time I started it turned out seeming quite trite. So I will tell you a story.

Cascades 030

God and I have engaged in a few struggles over my impatience. One in particular I remember frequently, probably whenever my patience is getting thin. It was a bad time at work – the Christian institution where I worked had done something that was oh-so-wrong to a colleague/friend and some people were being very self-righteous about the decision making. I had a very dear friend in the administration who was right in the middle of this painful situation and I felt for her; she was telling me to not get in the middle but I had to for personal and professional reason. This situation had left me feeling frustrated, angry, fearful, distraught, disgusted, helpless, and my faith was being tried.

Late one day I was leaving work as my administrator friend was walking towards me. She wanted to talk so we sat on the steps – but she didn’t want to talk about the incident that had me so disturbed. She was disturbed because she had a personal problem (painful one) and she was afraid she would have to quit her j0b, because of another asinine (my opinion) institutional policy. This was an institution I loved but boy were they stuck on stupid, and their stupidity was hurting so many people – all in the name of Godliness. They claimed to know God’s will, and God just didn’t condone some behaviors. They had prayed about it.

I drove home with tears streaming down my face. As I stepped into my kitchen my mind was exploding with all of my frustration and anger and feelings of helplessness. How could they do this to the people I loved? Why wouldn’t the people behind the decisions listen to reason? Where was God and what did s/he really want – why wasn’t God listening to me?

As I stepped into my quiet kitchen, my quiet home, with my brain screaming, I heard an even louder scream through my own,”Shut! up! Pat!” And then a very quiet and gentle voice, “And know that I am God.”

This seems to be what patience is about – to know that our creator is in control so we don’t have to blast our way through. Not everything about life is good and right and within our understanding. Our only task is to seek truth and do right, and trust that everything will work in time – God’s time. Patience, Pat.

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Categories: Faith

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17 Comments »

    • Wow, Jill, what a great compliment and affirmation. Thank you so much. I hope this Easter is all that it is meant to be as you, especially as you lead others.

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  1. You struck a chord in my heart. I appreciate the God perspective.
    I have a Henri Nouwen quote about patience being a hard discipline, hanging on my mirror. In essence it says to stay in the moment. The last part of it is: “Be patient and trust that the treasure you are looking for is hidden in the ground on which you stand.”
    Thanks for your enduring friendship to our family.

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    • Great quote, Joanne, and of course I appreciate your quick mind and depth of heart to understand what it means. I have no trouble combining faith with science so I can see that what Nouwen expresses sounds a lot like mindfulness. Thanks for you kind words and friendship.

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    • That was my hope. Everyone believes in something – and sometimes we just need to have patience with the natural order of things – all the things that we as yet don’t understand.

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