Choosing Patience

patient bearI got up very early this morning to attend a meeting that had been rescheduled from its regular monthly date. I was happy with myself for remembering the change in date, as I drove to the sunrise gathering of a group of fellow chaplains.

I felt great—until I learned after arriving that our rescheduled meeting had been rescheduled. There I was, all alone . . . and primed for a bit of unseemly disappointment with having risen more than two hours earlier my normal routine, for an aborted purpose.

Because that sort of reaction is not foreign to my nature, I was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t feel that way. Oh, for the briefest of moments (literally, less than a half a minute) I experienced what some might consider a mild case of “upset,” but it immediately gave way to my thoughts of how I could most constructively use the “extra hours” I had received.

The most amazing part of all is that I did not even have to consciously think, how can I put the best construction on this? It just happened.

Now, I’m uncertain whether this positive response was due to my increasing age, or to my growing sanctification. I suspect it’s a combination of the two. It’s such a calm and healthy way to respond to unwelcome events that I wish everyone was able to enjoy it as their norm. Thank you, Lord, for gracing me with this gift for the fall and winter decades of my life.

Being able to see the good in a seeming disappointment, is akin to possessing the virtue of patience. I once made the mistake of praying for “patience.” It was during my college days, and learning to be more patient proved quite painful; it was primarily taught to me by being deluged with a near-infinite number of things which demanded my patience. Quite painful.

In a letter C.S. Lewis wrote to Don Giovanni Calabria in 1948, he says, “We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is ‘good,’ because it is good, if ‘bad’ because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.”

This is precisely the attitude I wish to experience in my own life.

And, sometimes its fruit is easy to recognize. For example, the cancellation of today’s meeting gifted me with the time required to compose this post itself. And, for that, I am genuinely grateful.

13 thoughts on “Choosing Patience

  1. Kristen F.

    How wonderful.
    Hope the rest of your day goes well.

    I used to stress in traffic that was making me late.

    Now I pray that God will protect me and my children and get us safely to our destination. And I also pray for whatever has caused the delay. Accidents and injured or deceased people. Or construction workers and their projects. Or whatever it may be.

    Makes for much more peaceful driving.

    1. The “rest of my day…” That’s funnier than you realize. I traveled up to an afternoon meeting with a contractor in the afternoon. (About a forty minute drive, so not bad.) Waited three hours for his coordinating call to see exactly when we could meet to discuss the driveway he is supposed to be doing for us… and he never called me.

      I was laughing with my daughter this evening about my post and I told her “God gave me two opportunities to be patient today.” It’s wonderful to be able to find humor in what could be viewed as upsetting. I mean, it’s not in my control (although deciding who to hire for my driveway certainly is). :)

  2. Thank you for an excellent post, and excellent confirming insight by C.S. Lewis.I often think of the excellent centuries old book called “Crook in the Lot”, a sermon about the crooked pieces of wood in our lives that God lovingly fashions into beauty. Often it’s hard to be grateful for what thwarts us, but it’s good to be reminded to trust in His loving attention in our lives. Like the verse says, God works all things for good. Thank you for the reminder and the example to pray to live into.

      1. The full title is “Crook in the Lot, or, The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God Displayed in the Afflictions of Men” by Thomas Boston (died 1732). I’d say it’s a classic and is readily available for free download on the Internet. My pastor suggested it to me years ago as I struggled (still do) with chronic headaches and it has been invaluable over the years.

  3. That is a great quote. Finally learned patience waiting flights in airports while traveling for business (and finally was able to read books for fun). At some point you get it? Now, I’m officially an “old person” telling daughter she might as well relax – the world doesn’t run on her schedule. Hope you didn’t have to wait long for a lovely day

    1. After two days of torrential rain here (near Seattle) today is gloriously warm and beautiful.

      I too have learned to redeem my airport time… although I still “hate” the processing lines for security.

  4. Pingback: Jelly: Like minds afoot. | Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

  5. Hmmm, did you pray for me to learn patience? Yesterday I got my car stuck in the mud on the way to a meeting and barely got out in time to go home and change into clean clothes and make the meeting. Then on my way home I hit a pothole and got a flat. So thankful for AAA responding quickly as I was on a dark rural road and my husband was out of reach. I reached for my ipad to pass the time waiting for the tow truck–and discovered I’d left it at my meeting. Luckily my daughter was able to stop by and get it and bring it to me, so we got the joy of having her spend the night with us unexpectedly. I was not very patient :( but I did manage to be laughing by the time the tow truck guy arrived. It was such a comedy of errors, it was funny. And I did make it home safely, by God’s grace. Didn’t even hit a deer on the way, but then I was driving really slowly on my spare!

    1. What fun! The Lord kept you safe throughout… you had the blessing of extra time with your daughter… and no deer were injured in the production of this wonderful family adventure!

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