Patience: Water Lilies

It takes patience for me to get focus right.

My word of the year is “patience.” I think I need to have it tattooed on the back of each hand, maybe the top of my feet, and written on the palm of my hand with permanent marker. Last week I realized that I hadn’t had the patience to stick with being patient. This week I realize I need to be patient with myself because last week would have tried the patience of anyone. We had the flooring replaced in our whole condo because we are just a few feet above sea level and in the rainy summer the ground gets so wet that water comes up through our cement foundation. We had vinyl planking put down. As I am getting older I am finding I have less patience for chaos, and having every room tore up and not being able to make anything right is chaos.

My primary purpose for choosing the word “patience” is so I can be better at being patient with people who behave in ways that trigger my frustration or fear or insecurities. As I have been thinking about patience I have realized how intertwined it is with the characteristics of love (and in the Christian faith with the fruit of the Holy Spirit), like kindness, humility, generosity, gentleness, self-control. I’m wondering if being successful in having these qualities leads to joy (a fruit of the Spirit). Let me know what you have learned about this from your experience.

I plan to write more about this, from various perspectives of living and aging, throughout the year. No need to have all the answers right now – I can be patient.

20 thoughts on “Patience: Water Lilies

  1. I learned to have patience when I had twins in addition to the other two children I already had. It was a particularly hard lesson but I learned it well. As I got older, I realized how valuable it is to be able to wait and watch… not to mention how interesting it is to watch things unfold.

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  2. Patience! For me, it means letting go of my expectations…of others and myself. As I get older, I try to ask myself whether something is worth expending negative energy on. With fewer days left to live, I want an atmosphere of peace inside and out now, or as a friend put it, “I want no drama!” Good luck!

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  3. Pat- that kind of chaos would test a saint! Patience is just what I need too – am already impatient to see the signs of Spring and how good to watch a waterlily opening (like your very good photo) I agree, its a good word for photographers – helps stops us being snappers!

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  4. Lovely photo. It looks like a crocus, but it is in the water – perhaps a water crocus? Is that what it is?

    About patience, I am going to sound hugely obvious, or wise:
    As everything is known only by its opposite, the idea of needing to be patient springs from a feeling of impatience. That is bred from desire. And desire means being in the world and wanting to affect a certain outcome. There are times for that, such as when one desires a certain outcome for a loved one, but for many other things – they really are not worth one’s time. The way out of that two-step dance, as with any twosome, is to step out the back door, so to speak and see it all unfolding.

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      • There’s scene at the end of The Life Of Pi where the narrator has recounted all the adventures that a certain young man has had. At the end of recounting all the adventures, the listener says that he heard it differently, that the man in the story was a thief and had made up his adventures. The storyteller says – ‘In the absence of knowing which is true, which would you rather believe?’ To put it another way, one can view the world as a cold and meaningless place, or one can build a sense of the rightness of things inside one. I like the question Viktor Frankl suggests on the subject of the meaning of life and man’s search for meaning. He suggests instead seeing what life demands as it arises, and honouring that. In that sense, yes, everything can be used for good or bad.

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  5. Hi, Pat. Patience is something I often struggle with, too. Here’s a quote from Joyce Meyer you might like: “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”

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