Patience is When You Hide Your Impatience
What is Patience?
According to The Guide to the Scriptures*, patience is "Calm endurance; the ability to endure affliction, insult, or injury without complaint or retaliation." This definition indicates that patience is responding to difficulty by enduring calmly. We are not just waiting (tapping our toes or fingers and watching the clock), we are choosing to respond in a positive manner. For this to be possible, we need a generous helping of faith and hope that everything will work out for the best, that other people are just as important as we are, and that it is possible to come out ahead, even though, at the moment, we may feel that we are lagging behind.
Let us look at some areas of life where this type of endurance in needed, even desired. Recognizing these times for what they are: namely, life circumstances where things may not necessarily go as we want, when we can make the choice to exercise patience and increase our ability to be prepared when the real crises come.
- Teaching children
- Suffering from Illnesses, injuries, or disabilities
- Overcoming individual weaknesses and imperfections
- Establishing and maintaining relationships with others
- Experiencing the affects of aging
The Family is Life's Schoolhouse
As parents, we are primarily responsible for the teaching and training of our children. When they are infants, they are totally dependent upon us for their physical comfort, protection, nourishment, and love. We need patience as we attend to these needs since they may come at inconvenient times and we don't always know what they are. Working through the difficulty of figuring out the needs, and then meeting them in a calm and orderly manner builds our muscles of patience as schedules and routines are established. The bonds of trust we establish will last a lifetime.
Children grow rapidly. As they get to be toddlers, they want to move about, touch and taste everything, climb, and explore. Using a calm tone of voice as we set boundaries and teach them about their world reinforces our feelings of love for them. The more we teach in this manner, the more they are able to understand and function appropriately. We do not have to raise our voice or speak harshly when they do things they shouldn't, but give consistent warnings, get down and speak to them on their level face to face, and explain what needs to be done instead.
Do you consider yourself to be a patient person?
Suffering from Illnesses, Injuries, and Disabilities
They Come When We Least Expect Them
Some are visible, requiring special equipment and procedures. Others are within ourselves and although we may frequent therapist and doctor's offices for treatment, we and our family suffer in silence, keeping the difficulty that we face away from the knowledge of others.
Additional time and financial resources are required when a family member is ill, injured, or suffering with a disability. When the person is a member or our family, we may have to take time off of work or call upon others to assist. Extra duties include, but are not limited to:
- Purchasing and administering medication
- Transportation to and from appointments and therapy
- Special diets, cooking, and/or eating equipment
- Time for scheduling, phone calling, and corresponding with care givers
- Working with care givers to plan and deliberate treatment options
- Hospitalization, if needed, and referral to specialists
- Assistance with personal care, mobility, and dressing
- Giving extra love and attention
Each of these activities requires calm endurance. Care givers must be careful not to neglect their own needs while caring for their loved one. Doing so leaves their needs unmet, and leads to the possibility of neglect and abuse. Accessing community resources is vital to avoid experiencing burnout. Getting connected with a support group is also helpful. When our own needs are met, we are able to be patient and kind with our loved one.
Overcoming Individual Weaknesses and Imperfections
Patience With Self is the Most Difficult
We know ourselves so intimately, that we are well aware of our mistakes and shortcomings. We know the things we should have done and didn't do, as well as the things we have said that were better left unsaid. Having patience with ourselves has a lot to do with perspective.
First and foremost, we need a realization of who we really are. As children of God, we have all of the attributes of our Heavenly Father. He has all patience. Patience is personified through our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we look at the New Testament, we see him gathering the little children about him and blessing them, healing the sick, and pausing to acknowledge those who were considered to be undesirables.
Establishing and Maintaining Relationships with Others
Relationships Determine Quality of Our Life
Each person has their own distinct personality, family culture, strengths and weaknesses, and communication style. Any time we interact with another, all of these things come into play for that single moment. In some cases, this process is cumbersome and annoying. In others, it is enjoyable.
Successful relationships don't just happen. There will be differences of opinion and conflicting desires. It is necessary to allow time for these things to be resolved before people can go forward with their desired goals. This is especially true in families and workplaces. Unresolved differences happen whenever people work together, whether two people or twenty. Patiently listening, problem solving through issues, collaborating, and compromising keep relationships viable and progress toward goals possible.
The Affects of Aging
Age is Inevitable
It happens to everyone, and no matter what we do, our bodies will change over time. We find that our eyes see differently, our taste buds give new sensations, and our ability to feel different textures declines. Aging is a natural part of life.
Time seems to pass more rapidly as we get older. In reality, the proportions change. One year in the life of a ten-year old child is one-tenth of their life. At the age of seventy, one year is a mere one-seventieth! No wonder young marrieds start to look like children, and suddenly we become older than all of our service providers!
Grocery store shelves no longer carry the brands we like - or is it just that the packaging is different! Cars aren't as reliable as they once were, and the print on the page seems to keep getting smaller! It seems that we just start getting to know someone, and then we hear about their funeral in the paper!
Life is a series of tests. During the process of learning, we pass one test after another, only to find that we face yet another. The last one we have to pass is the test of endurance. Since patience is "calm endurance," our ability to be patient with the aging process is paramount to successfully finishing our lives. Although we are the same person inside, our bodies must soon lie down in the grave, and we will meet our Maker.
"...we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
And patience, experience, and experience, hope..."
Patience is Calm Endurance
The time we spend with our families and loved ones helps us to endure. As we gather them around us and share our wisdom and kindness, we are wrapping ourselves in a blanket of warmth. That security will carry us through the difficult moments when our memories fail and our abilities just don't seem to do what we need them to do.
Patience is required as we gradually lose the ability to care for others. Eventually, we find that we must depend on those who once were in our arms. We may even get to the point that we don't recognize them when they come to visit, or that they can't seem to please us, no matter how hard they try!
Then, when the time comes that we step out of this world and into the next, we will suddenly realize that we had patience all along! All we had to do was simply hide our impatience, calmly enduring any situation that happens to come our way.
*Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Follow the links to the on-line version.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Denise W Anderson