If Patience is a Virtue, does that make Impatience a Vice?

When describing Tatooine to R2-D2 and C-3PO, Luke said, ‘If there’s a bright center to the galaxy, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.’

That feels like the most accurate description of me, when having a conversation about patience. I don’t find myself to be patient in most endeavors of my life. I often feel as though I am the antithesis of being patient. I just don’t the waiting thing well at all. I know this about me. Anyone who knows me well, knows this about.

I work in the child welfare and in mental health fields. I work with difficult, tough situations on a daily basis. I have the opportunity to wade into life with people who are dealing with all manner of trauma, difficulties, setbacks, hardships, and letdowns. Many of the families I work with, require a softer touch to effectively engage with them. I am in a leadership/mentoring program and a little while back, my mentor met with me in my office. As my mentor arrived, I was wrapping up a phone call with a client who was suffering from serious and difficult mental health diagnosis. This client struggles daily to recognize what is real and what is not. Sadly, most days she does not overcome that struggle and finds herself living a life based in non-reality. As my phone call concluded, my mentor commented I exhibited the patience of a saint on the phone call.

I have found my ability to be patient or understanding with others or the situations of others, is much greater than my ability to be patient or exercise patience in my own life. While I find it very easy to be calm, relaxed, and patient with others… I struggle to find the same calmness when surveying the landscape of my own life.

So far I have found the year 2020 to be one giant exercise in patience. Like many others, I find myself amidst struggles and hardships that require patience, calmness, and understanding to navigate. I often find myself asking God why he feels the need to constantly challenge to grow and increase my understanding and application of patience. When I reflect on this minor interaction with a mentor who saw me exhibit patience, understanding, calmness, and empathy to a client who was struggling; I begin to understand why I struggle with learning patience in my own life. I am fortunate to be trusted by others to step into their loves when they are struggling the hardest. I am fortunate to have the relational disposition to walk alongside others as they struggle.

It occurs to me, maybe I struggle so that I can help others when they struggle. Maybe the patience I am learning has little to do with finding calm or peace in my own life, but rather to be calmly and understandingly available to those around me who need someone to help lift them up.

Considering this, I don’t mind the continued lessons of patience God is consistently teaching me.

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