Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. ~Prov. 25:15
In today’s society, we have come to expect the instantaneous, the rapid, the quick, the get-it-done-now. We are simply impatient people. We used to have a higher capacity for patience, but it keeps getting whacked off — primarily as a result of advances in technology. Cell phones, email, texting, and twittering create their own expectation momentum. What used to be considered just waiting now must be endured with patience. Patience really means being put off. Nobody likes being put off.
Excessities are at war with patience.
The Gotta Have It! cry of an excessity is generally followed by the unspoken command of Now! The longer you are required to wait, the louder that command becomes until it’s so shrill that it’s all you hear. The internal clamor of the excessity creates its own urgency. What was a desire becomes a ncessity. And a necessity deferred becomes an emergency. Once you’ve declared your own emergency, you have provided built-in justification for whatever measures are required to satisfy your Gotta Have It! At this point, patience is a hindrance, a barrier between you and your excessity.
Lori didn’t like barriers to what she wanted. She never had.
she saw what she wanted so clearly and perceived her need so acutely, Lori took barriers personally. Her family learned it was never a good idea to get between Lori and something she wanted. They tended to scatter whenever she was in one of her “moods.” Her work subordinates learned to keep their heads down, their mouths shut, and their hands busy doing whatever Lori wanted.
Capable and driven, Lori was able to accomplish a great deal in a small amount of time. It was something she was known for and something she took a great deal of pride in.
If you asked Lori, she’d say she had a great deal of patience.
She would relate numerous occasions where she’d patiently endured the incompetence, inattention, and lack of caring of people around her. She could be patient long enough for the microwave to heat up her food. She could be patient long enough for her computer to boot up. She could be patient long enough for her gas tank to fill. These were Lori’s ideas of patience, and she bore them with stoic, if resentful, patience.
Then the ground underneath Lori shifted. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and Lori learned she really wasn’t patient after all. Cancer taught her how to wait. She had to wait for test results to be done. She had to wait for doctors and medical personnel to do their work. She had to wait for her husband’s strength to return after each agonizing round of chemotherapy or radiation. She had to wait for hope to return after each setback.
When it became clear he would not revcover, Lori had a decision to make.
Before, Lori had always traded time for results. Now, the only result time would yield was the loss of her husband. Before, Lori couldn’t wait for life to move fast enough. Now, all she wanted to do was slow it down. Before whatever was happening right now in Lori’s life was overshadowed by what could or would happen in the future, with what needed to be done. Lori’s life before was a relentless race from the now to the next.
With the next thing being the impending death of her husband, Lori’s life came to an abrupt halt.
She cut back at work so she could spend more time with him. As a result, she spent more time with her children, who desperately needed her. It was impossible for her to stop the clock, to slow the progression of the disease, to keep her husband alive longer. So instead, Lori learned to wring every possible drop of value and joy out of each moment they were together. She stopped being resentful of time and began to live within it.
Lori had always lived impatiently for what she wanted. Now, she learned to live patiently for what she didn’t.
Source: Chapter 8, “God Provides Patience” in Gotta Have It! by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, Inc