It’s usually right around this time of year that I begin to feel frustrated. I become frustrated with a season that seems reluctant to arrive (even though technically it is here already on the calendar) and frustrated with the “in between” feel of things – between wanting to move forward and relishing the fact that I can still hold back.
It seems that this time of year is always when the most valuable lessons in patience are given to me and my tolerance for learning through those lessons is truly tested.
But, in thinking about that, I realized that we often find our patience is tested, not just when we are waiting for spring to finally arrive, but also throughout the year, in different ways.
We find our patience being tested with the people in our lives- when we see what they need to do to help themselves and when we offer our advice and yet they still keep trudging down the same old path. Some days that can be likened to trying to convince a drowning person that he can save himself just by standing up. Our patience is surely challenged then.
Other times we may find ourselves having to be patient with those in our life by letting them figure things out for themselves. We can offer advice, even from valuable experience, but there are times when people just need to live and learn. As much as we may want to protect them, sometimes they need to make their own mistakes and learn from the consequences which arise. It takes patience to stand back and simply watch things enfold.
We learn the lessons of patience from our own wants and desires too. We may want things to happen in a certain way and at a certain time because we believe that is what’s best for us, but things always happen when and how they are supposed to – in our necessary patience we are reminded that it is God who knows what is best.
So we must learn to also have patience with ourselves. We will slip up, we will regress, and we will change direction several times in our lives and on our journey. We need to be patient with ourselves throughout our own mistakes. We need to allow ourselves to fall down, as long as each time we fall, we get back up again stronger than ever. If we fall down 7 times, we need to get up 8.
We may have all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue” and it really is. Patience is something which can be learned though- it is a behaviour of high moral standards that we can all aspire to. We may need to learn patience through timely lessons, but we are all capable of learning.
It just might take some, well, patience.