I am a wife, mother, and teacher. Patience is probably the most important requirement of all my vocations, but it is also my greatest challenge. I am so blessed that God has given me the roles he has in my life; I am not only asked, but required to exhibit LOVE in these roles. “Love is patient.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) I love my husband; I love my children; I love my students, but ironically they try my patience in ways that no other people in my life do. Isn’t God funny that way? I am going to make you a wife, mother, and teacher, but you are going to be by nature impatient. However, is this really God’s doing? Or my own? What God definitely did bestow me with is love, so if love is patient, God did indeed give me patience; I just tend to forget sometimes.
My impatience quite often comes from, not an innate flaw of the inability to be patient, but from my own selfishness. The desire to have things my own way—done my way and seen my way. My own pride and self-serving tendencies must be fought off if I have any desire to be patient. My frustration level rises and rises and then I do not feel loving at all. I am not who God means for me to be—which is a loving human being. So just when I berate myself for being human and flawed, and impatient, I find solace in these words of wisdom from St. Francis de Sales: “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” How remarkably that what I can regard as selfish, ultimately comes back to just that: myself. Just how can I expect to be patient with others if I cannot be patient with the one person I live with day in and day out? It will come full circle, because in essence, God is asking me to love myself. Again, “Love is patient.” I have to trust that since God loves me, I am indeed lovable, therefore, I am deserving of patience myself. If I keep these premises in mind, I can be that loving and patient, wife, mother and teacher. If I speak to myself with love, I will speak to them with love; patience is a by-product of love.
If I could ask God for any gift, as an educator this is an easy one, I would ask for wisdom. I would like to say it would be patience, but my first inclination would be like that of King Solomon. Wisdom would make my life complete. However, my quest for knowledge and wisdom comes right back to my original challenge, because St. Augustine says “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” So, if love is patient, and wisdom accompanies patience, with wisdom, also comes love. So many virtues that all come down this: Love. And as Catholics, and as Christians, we know God is love. All these confusing connections tell me one thing: I must seek God, because it is only through Him that I receive wisdom, love, and, back to my original challenge patience.
I must seek God who is Love; when I encounter Love, I find Patience; when I discover Patience, I experience Wisdom; when I gain Wisdom, I have found God.