Patience can seem elusive. Just when we need it most, we cannot seem to find it. Like the car keys that seem to hide themselves when we are late for an appointment, patience is an energy that we often scramble to find when our frustration levels are high and our coping levels are low.
How many times, when we are feeling pressed, pressured, and at our wits’ end, have we implored the Most High, “Dear Lord, give me patience.” Patience, it seems, is such a rare commodity, that it is stored in the high heavens and only granted to us when we are completely out of mental and emotional options.
We see patient people as inherently spiritual beings. “She has the patience of a saint,” we’ll say of a teacher who maintains her composure in a classroom full of tired, edgy toddlers.
We are right about one thing: patience is a spiritual practice. Patience requires us to let go of our ego’s demanding timeline. It is an offering of permission for change and evolution to happen of its own accord. It is an admission of our lack of control over circumstances and how they will play out. It is a faith that resolution will come, down the line — not in the way we had envisioned it — but in a way that will be revealed to us if we have a willingness to wait and see.
And like any other practice, if we want to get good at it, we have to practice at it. You see, patience is within us. And it is . . . well . . . patiently waiting for us to access it. It is like a quiet room, away from the constant motion and endless noise of life. Patience is a sacred space where we retreat from the ego’s demands of NOW NOW NOW. And like that quiet room, patience is prepared to enfold us.
Perhaps patience will require us to wait a few moments for someone else to finish speaking. A couple of minutes in line at the grocery store. An hour in traffic. A day for a package to arrive. A week or two for a return phone call. Months for the right job. Or years for justice.
Make no mistake. Patience requires strength. It takes strength not to yield to the pounding drums of NOW NOW NOW. It takes strength to refrain from pushing, pulling, forcing, and screaming in frustration.
Saints have no more patience than you. You have the same sacred space within you that they do. It’s just that they have practiced that long, quiet walk to that sacred space within. And they have learned to sit down. To smile. And to wait. Until there is a knock on the door and a voice says, “It’s time.”