"A little patience, please!" I laughed to myself as I overheard a little girl in a restaurant. She was more admonishing her mother than asking for understanding as she slowly worked her way through her vegetables. Wherever and however she came to use the phrase at such a young age was a mystery, but it worked well for her, cuteness aside. I have thought to myself many times since that I would love to use this phrase in many situations—most especially when a line of strangers is behind me in cars, or waiting for their soy milk lattes. Patience, one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, is defined as "the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset." Some synonyms for patience are forbearance, tolerance, restraint, self-restraint, resignation, stoicism, fortitude, sufferance and endurance.
How many times during your day would you benefit from being shown a little patience from your family, friends, co-workers or strangers you encounter along your way? How many times during your day are you given the opportunity to show a little patience to others? How does it feel when patience is not extended to you? How does it feel when you don't show patience to others?
The practice of patience is a gift that you first give yourself, and then to others. Being patient allows you the opportunity to pause, reflect and consider the great gift of time. And time is a wonderful gift, most especially when it is shared. It beckons us to go deeper, to appreciate more fully, and to accept limitations more readily.
When we receive the gift of patience in one of its many forms, it brings us joy, and a reminder of how wonderfully we are made in God's image. The best response is always to pass it on and pay it forward, so that others have the same wonderful glimpse of our loving God in themselves.
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