Patience has never been one of my virtues, although I have become more so as I grow older. I recently experienced a surge of impatience as I waited for an event to occur.
I kept repeating my usual affirmative statement, but I found myself in a battle to let things go and allow them to unfold as they should. Another opportunity to practice patience.
Stimulated by my irritation stemming from impatience, I began to think about how impatience affects our sense of well-being and peace. In my archive of information, I found the following thought on patience.
The Greek word for patience, makrothymia, suggests having a large capacity for absorbing irritants without letting them paralyze you. Here’s one way to think about it: Patience is like good motor oil, which doesn’t remove all of the contaminants. It just puts them into suspension so they don’t get into your works and seize them up. Patient people have, so to speak, a large crankcase. They can put a lot of irritants into suspension.
Suppose the person behind you keeps cracking his knuckles. You put your annoyance into suspension. Suppose you can’t find your keys and you feel a little scuffed up. Put it into suspension. Suppose somebody is late for your meeting and you feel your anger start to rise. Into the crankcase it goes. Patient people have makrothymia. They’ve got a big capacity for absorbing irritants without seizing up. They get annoyed, but they have a place to put their annoyance.
Author: Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
It is not just situations that can result in our impatience; it is also our impatience with others at home and at work that can arouse the sleeping giant of irritability. We may find ourselves becoming irritated over small, insignificant behaviors or habits of others that have the same effect upon us as the sound of fingernails raking down a chalkboard.
C. S. Lewis says, “When two humans live together for a while, it usually happens that each has facial expressions and tones of voice that are almost unendurable to the other.”
With all due respect to C.S. Lewis, I would suggest that people with whom we work could have the same effect upon us when we are under stress on the job.
Patience with ourselves, with others and with our situations is an important component of our happiness. It is through our patience that grander things can come to and through us.
As an old Chinese proverb reminds us, “Patience is power; with time and patience the mulberry leaf becomes silk.”
Affirmation for the Week:
“I am growing patience in my garden of life. I can’t wait to see what fruit it bears.”
Have a patience-filled week!