Day 13 of Kate Motaung's October 2015 edition of 31 days of free writes.
Tuesday 13 October: Patience
Colonial Puritan New Englanders often named their kids after desirable characteristics. How many girls were "Patience"? I have no idea, but like people in Hebrew Bible days, parents would expect patience, honor, charity, chastity to grow into the personification of their name.
My own life brings a different take on patience. I've long had lots of future- and career-oriented dreams; I've been ambitious and driven, yet at the same time I've realized these things take time; they take almost infinite patience. What things? Being able to play the Beethoven Piano Sonatas. Being able to interpret scripture. Speaking some Spanish. Yet in my back story there's more. I truly did not realize my Dad was gone, didn't ever imagine my parents could be divorced, and I waited for him to return "home" for ten years, which is a very VERY long time between the ages of 4 and 14. That experience has made me extremely patient with other people and with most life situations, too. Patience to the appearance of inertia.
A few weeks ago one of the pastors at one of the churches I've been attending here in The City commented that when a person has one trait, they usually have its opposite. My intellectual abilities and academic background sometimes make me (more than a bit) arrogant. Hey, those people don't know scripture, they don't know the confessions... Implication? I do have a clue about the content – and responsible interpretation – of scripture; I've even taught Book of Confessions. My physical and psychological energy also make me driven, ambitious, impatient and very very restless. So the other side? Patience!
After writing to the patience prompt, I logged in and discovered Kate had two buttons, and she'd written how patience for herself probably is her most frequent prayer request. My prayers need to be the opposite:
• Let me realize this person is not coming back into my life—they even wrote to me they did not welcome my attempts at communication. They were not having a bad day. I no longer belong in their circle. Three years? People sometimes reconcile after much longer than that, but the signs say we no longer are friends. Or acquaintances. Or anything but ex-friends, ex-acquaintances, formers.
• Please help me admit this won't bear fruit; that job I wanted and interviewed for so well has no interest in me—after four years they'd have contacted me?
• I've spoken to the church musician at least a dozen times, they know my background, and every time they've needed a supply musician they've asked someone else. Waiting until they're comfortable with me? In this case two years is time and then some.
In a new to me setting of any type, of course I need to learn who people are, consider where they might be coming from, and make allowance for my newbie status. However, five or six years later no longer qualifies as "new" anywhere.
I'm including Kate's second image button, "Teach Me To Wait Well." I don't need practice learning to wait, but I very much need experience and lessons and teaching in learning to wait well. I even could give myself a new, temporary middle name: how about "Impatience?"