Sunday, September 30, 2012

PRACTICING PATIENCE

"Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I am running out of patience." I have blurted those words under my breath more times than I can count. But how do we "run out" of something so intangible? Money, yes. Food, yes. Even time. But patience?

This is a difficult subject to explore, because I find myself running on empty all too often. Yesterday, it took me an hour to print a store coupon on my archaic computer. I slammed the mouse down repeatedly, brewing in frustration. Then I thought about the message I'd be writing on patience. Ugh...

Once again, I look to my grandma as my measuring stick and my inspiration. Everything about her daily round was laced with a heaping dose of patience. Her life began in the nineteenth century and ended in the twenty-first, touching three centuries. My husband reminded me of a story she shared with us about travelling in a covered wagon when she was a young girl. It got me thinking, when she was my age, it was 1948. She had already raised four children amidst the challenging life as a missionary in South America, with experiences I cannot grasp in my comfortable lifestyle.

So I cut myself some slack. Because let's be real ~ in this age of fast technology and instant gratification, we haven't had the opportunities she did to grow the fruit of patience. But I cannot let that excuse me from seeking more patience in my own life.

Grandma's life teaches me it begins with the simplest of things. If she wanted jam or jelly, Grandma set aside a couple of days and went about the task of canning her own. The same was true of chili sauce, relish, apple sauce, apple butter, and who knows what else. For me, it's a quick trip to the market.

Baking a pie was an all day event for her, beginning with homemade crust that would melt in your mouth. The best pie I can produce comes in a Marie Callendar's box.

New flowers in her garden began with a little bag of seeds, which she watered, fertilized, and cared for over the course of weeks, even months. I go to the local nursery and choose a plant to place in our yard for instant color.

Her need for a new dress or quilt for the bed didn't involve an online order or jaunt to the mall (that's me). Her hands created what she wore and the covers that warmed her at night.

Although she used a washing machine when I knew her as grandma, vivid memories remain of the clothesline outside her kitchen window. Her linens and clothes swayed in the breeze until she carried her basket outside to retrieve them.

Here's the irony. For all the hard work my grandma did in her daily life, she was never in a hurry. She went about her work at her own happy pace.

Have all the modern conveniences and time-savers we insist upon having, actually perpetuate the fast-paced mentality? It's no wonder we are short of patience in today's society.

I want what grandma had. I don't know if I have to shut off devices, give up conveniences, and learn the crafts my grandma knew. If so, it won't be easy. But it may be the gentlest path to growing more patience.

Today, as I type on my computer that moves at a snail's pace, I see it as a gift on the road to developing patience. I can do this! Grandma's life tells me it's possible.

"Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting."
~Author Unknown

"Patience is the companion of wisdom."
~St. Augustine

"Humility and patience are the surest proofs of the increase of love."
~John Wesley

"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."
~Arnold Glaslow

"One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time."
~G.K. Chesterton

"Do daily and hourly your duty; do it patiently and thoroughly. Do it as it presents itself; do it at the moment and let it be its own reward."
~James H. Aughey

"God's patience is infinite. Men, like small kettles, boil quickly with wrath at the least wrong. Not so God. If God were as wrathful, the world would have been a heap of ruins long ago."
~Sadhu Sundar Singh

"Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times."
~Romans 12:12

"It's smart to be patient, but it's stupid to lose your temper."
~Proverbs 14:29

            

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