Tuesday, February 4, 2014

January in Review - Love is Patient

As I end my month long focus on "love is patient," I realize what a long journey this is going to be.  From where I am now to having the virtue of patience - perhaps even a lifelong journey.  Scratch that - a lifelong journey.   How difficult some of these virtues are to implement into my selfish nature.  But, oh, there is grace for the journey.

I have learned this month just how impatient I am. It's easy to be patient standing in line when you have nowhere else to go, but what about when you're busy or running behind? Love is patient.

It's easy to be patient to your loved ones when you have to repeat yourself* once, but five times?  Love is patient.
(*I have a major personal pet peeve of repeating myself, perhaps this is easier for others).

It's easy to forgive and be patient with the faults of another when it's the first grievance...but what about the whole "forgive 70 times 7" thing when they have a character flaw that results in repeated offenses? Love is patient.

Moments of raging impatience this month - when my fiancĂ© forgets something important to me, when a flighty friend of mine was in town for a week and made me late for work every.single.day, when my parents act the same way they have in my whole life, and I am impatient about it anyway. When I commit a sin AGAIN that I wish were behind me.  Love is patient. Love is patient. PATIENT, I tell you!!

I learned this month that my fuse is often shorter than I think. Blame it on lack of sleep, blood sugar problem, hormones, work, traffic. Blame it on anything you want to, but love is patient, and I often am not. I have found that it is much easier to operate in self-control when I have eaten, exercised, slept, and otherwise taken care of myself. When I'm "running on empty" so to speak, it's very difficult to act in patience. However, I think that's when it's most important to be patient. Anyone can be patient when it's not difficult and nothing's at stake, but to me, being patient in a very frustrating situation is true patience, more so than being patient when it's easy. It's kind of when the Bible talks about loving the unlovely. Loving when it's hard. Patient when it's difficult. I used to think of myself as a fairly patient person, but now I realized that I had no problem being patient when it was easy, and no patience at all when it was actually a test of patience. 

As I consider other resolutions I made this year, specifically the one about going to confession about once a month, I realized that,...wait for it...,love is patient.  (Right...duh. That's the point, right?)  What I mean is that I realized that not only do I need to confess my impatience, but I need to be grateful that Love, God, is patient. God is patient with me. And as I learn, try, fail hard, get back up, and try again, I realize that God is patient with me as I try to love, specifically as I try to love by being patient.  I imagine my youngest nephew as he runs and falls. He's little, and he's got a lot of padding on the hind end to ease the fall. Are we not children in God's eyes?  I'm not diminishing the seriousness of my sins, but God is patient with me. Just as we encourage my nephew to get back up when he falls and comfort him if it hurt, God doesn't want us to fall and stay there. That's where despair enters in, at least for me.  Love, God, is patient with me. In all my weaknesses, I should get up and try again. God is cheering me on. 

Love is patient, and Love is patient with me. It is both a call to patience and a reminder of who God is.  Can I show that patience to myself and others?

Tune in next month for Love is Kind.