Patience: virtue or blessing?
ARE you impatient? If you are, do you feel it's a minor fault? I always did. I knew patience was supposed to be a virtue, but I always felt that the virtue lay in keeping one's impatience well hidden. Then one day my son-in-law said to me, ``I see where my wife gets her impatience from -- her mother!'' I was upset to learn my impatience was showing, and I resolved to get rid of it someday. ``Someday'' arrived in a hurry. The following week a situation arose that required an immediate shopping trip for some special clothes. Never a happy shopper, just a fast one, I was delighted when a pleasant salesperson led me into a dressing room and said, ``It may take a while to find exactly what you need, so you stay here and relax while I search. I'll bring them to you.''
``A little while!'' She had me in that tiny room for what seemed like hours. Frustration, tension, and irritation grew to such a point that I finally asked myself, ``Why am I so upset? She's doing all the work. All I have to do is sit. And she's so loving and patient.''
Patience! That was it. ``Why is she so loving and patient while I feel so impatient and unloving?'' I silently cried. Instantly these words came to me from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:1 ``Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.''2 Immediately I affirmed, ``I don't believe in a partial God. God really is Love.'' Then I remembered another statement by Mrs. Eddy: ``Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him -- that reflect Love.''3
I then began to affirm my true nature to be Love's reflection, realizing that this enabled me to express poise, serenity, patience. I knew my ability to express my true selfhood was a divine right. I asserted that right. I left the store that day with everything I needed and something infinitely more precious. My healing of impatience had begun, and continues to unfold and bless.
I have since realized that impatience breeds irritation, tension, frustration, and even hate. So we should never let it go unchallenged.
Patience with sin, of course, is not patience. It's disobedience to the law of God, and a denial of our true nature. We should challenge it. Because we are all in truth the children of divine Love, made in Love's likeness, we're not the sin-prone, sometimes impatient mortals that we seem to be. Our real being -- the ``new man'' to be ``put on'' as the old is ``put off''4 -- is spiritual and immortal, because God is immortal Spirit. Our true selfhood is therefore incapable of being unloving in any way. God never made impatience or any other character flaw. So impatience has no genuine life or being. It cannot exist in your true God-bestowed consciousness or mine. To the degree that we accept this spiritual truth, deeply feel it to be the reality of our being through humble prayer, and strive to live in harmony with it, we can be healed of impatience.
``Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,''5 Christ Jesus instructed. Expressing patience is one way to be obedient to this admonition. To be patient helps us to be more thoughtful, unselfish, compassionate, and understanding with our neighbor, and brings into our own lives greater serenity.
Is patience a virtue or a blessing? The answer, of course, is both.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 13. 3Miscellaneous Writings, p. 150. 4See Ephesians 4:22-24. 5Mark 12:31.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ecclesiastes 7:8