Love is Patient

Monday 13th February 2023

‘The Queue’ is a British institution, we’re good at waiting, at being orderly, polite, biting our stiff upper lip and limiting our complaints to muttering under our breath.

Well some of us are at any rate. I don’t think it’s a skill I’ve ever really mastered, though at least since the invention of the smart phone I’ve been able to fill the boredom with some doom scrolling.

It’s not just that waiting is boring, it’s that it feels like a waste of time, if there’s something to do I’m very much of the mindset that we should just get on with it, as far as I am concerned ‘now’ is always the best time. While this in itself can be a good thing, there are also times when patience is necessary, especially when it comes to the way we treat others.

My children are most definitely not of the mindset that things should be done “right now” unless it’s something they really want to do, in which case it cannot wait. Homework, dishes, putting shoes on to go out, these things can all wait. As must I. In fact I sometimes wonder if I were to add up all the time I spend standing in the hallway waiting for my children, what would I have the time to do? Finish my novel? Do all that exercise I say I don’t have time for?

I’d like to say I’m patient with my children, that I don’t yell and scream when I’m standing in the hallway, waiting.

I’d also like to say I’m patient with other Christians, as Paul urges us to be “with all humility and patience, bear with one another in love” (Eph 4:2) but it is something I struggle with, especially when it comes to what seems to me to be indifference towards domestic abuse or intolerance towards the “other”

Patience and tolerance come more naturally to some than others. Some of us have to practise, to work hard at it. We fail, we mess up, we snap or shout or rant. We cry “hurry up” or ‘work at my pace’ we do that to each other, and sometimes we do it to God too. Thank goodness that God is patient with our impatience eh.

Who is patient with you? Have you known love that is patient? When I think of love being patient I think of my three year old self, toddling over to my mother so she could open my shape sorter, putting all the shapes in it, then asking her to open it again. And Again. And Again. I only ever remember her smiling and opening it. I’m sure I’d at least have huffed by the fourth or fifth time.