“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.”
– Paulo Coelho.
I don’t need to tell you that love is patient. I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times; some, maybe more. Chances are, you’ve heard it so many times that you disregard it, because in your mind you recite the natural “I know that already” or something of the sort.
That’s what I do. That’s what I’ve done. I stood in front of the ones I loved, and looked in the eyes of the one I love most, and vowed to be patient – in some way, shape, or form. I vowed to be patient, because I vowed to love him. Loving, loving is such a beautiful thing. It’s a beautiful thing, because it brings out the best in us. But it’s also a beautiful thing, because it challenges the stubborn in us.
“It makes us pay attention.”
I pray for a patient heart. I yearn for it. Chances are, you do as well – with someone else… a friend, a spouse, a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a parent, a coworker. We remind ourselves that love is patient, and then we catch our blood pressure rising and the emotions rolling like a steam roller through our hearts. The word ‘but’ is in such a serious relationship with the validation our thoughts convince us of. We let ‘but’ justify every ounce of impatience in us.
However, if I’m being completely honest with myself… with you… the hardest person I find myself being patient with is myself. I don’t think that’s always something we realize so quickly. We are quick to assume that the reason for our lack of patience is the person right in front of us in that moment… or even more, the person who should be right in front of us, but is choosing to head down a path your heart hadn’t planned on. We all strive to grow toward something. We all, whether we realize it or not, are working toward something. Maybe it’s involuntary, but whether we like to admit it or not, we’re all working toward love in some way, shape, or form. Some of us are running toward it, daily striving to love others as best as we can with the love the Lord has given us. Others, begrudgingly choose to stay in this moment, because moving forward requires too much; much more than we are willing to allow the Lord to do.
I don’t care if you’re in a relationship or not. You don’t have to be loving someone romantically to move toward love; to grow toward love. It’s a choice, and often times, I think the world convinces us it’s a poor one. Why? Because being selfish and impatient is easier. It’s easier, because it doesn’t require work. Most often, it doesn’t require heartache, and that’s what the world says we should avoid.
It says we should avoid it, but you wanna know why? Because it’s powerful. It’s powerful, because it matters.
Marriage is fun, I mean so much fun. But it’s also challenging. They weren’t kidding about that whole selfless thing. You may do the dishes one way, and you have to sit there watching your sweetheart doing it entirely different… and perhaps wrong. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Because down the road, you won’t remember the times that someone made you impatient. You’re going to be cherishing the things you were patient FOR. Love.
The next time you find yourself growing impatient with someone, ask yourself: Am I being patient with myself?
That one question right there is a step toward love. It’s a step, because it’s choosing to look beyond the moment and see what really matters. We can’t choose to be patient with the growth of another heart, if we aren’t first patient with our own growth.
Love is patient. Whether the dishes are clean or sitting in the sink.
Keep being patient. You’ll remember it one day, when your heart is overflowing with love instead of bitterness.
Love is patient, still.