"Lord, give me patience, and give it to me NOW!"
This common prayer expresses my impatience with patience. Perhaps that's what makes patience so hard: I am either patient or impatient. I want patience, not impatience. Patience is good. Impatience is bad.
I hope my meditations this week have helped you move beyond this kind of dualistic thinking and see that patience is not the absence of impatience; it is the ability to hold the sources of discontent gently and with compassion.
This is the true meaning of patience.
Remember that you are in the presence of God. God is within you and all around you, accepting and welcoming your whole self.
Give thanks for one or two blessings you've received this week.
Look back on the week that was. Replay the highlights from each day as if you were watching a movie. Pay attention to those moments when you experienced gentleness and kindness.
As you focus on those moments, pay attention to the feelings associated with them. What did gentleness look like and feel like? Hold these feelings softly in your heart.
Review your week again and identify a moment of impatience, a moment of discontent, a time when your sense of peace was disturbed. As you recall this moment, imagine yourself reliving it from the place of gentleness and kindness you were holding in your heart. What is different about how you experience this moment?
Take a moment and talk to Jesus about this moment of impatience. Talk to him as one friend to another, as if you were chatting over a cup of coffee or watching a ballgame together. What does he tell you about your source of impatience? Imagine he shows you how to hold your impatience with kindness and gentleness. What does it look like?
Look forward to the week to come. What do you anticipate will challenge your patience? Ask for the grace to respond to these challenges with love, mercy, and compassion.
Close with a prayer of gratitude or a simple Amen.
This Week's Meditations
Monday: Patience is an act of surrender.
Tuesday: Patience is the acceptance of the transient nature of the world.
Wednesday: Patience grows when we focus on love, mercy, and compassion.
Thursday: Patience and nonviolence are twin virtues.
Friday: Patience results in and is the result of empathy.