I heard a song in the morning air, one that was popular when I was a teenager. I remember playing the album, some songs I liked and some I didn’t. But in those days of listening to records, one just listened to them all as they played, patiently awaiting the favorites.
I think of how today I can instantly purchase any song I want to on iTunes. There is no waiting and no patience required. I can choose which songs of an album I want even, no putting up with the unfavorable.
My husband and I watched two men hunting a gazelle in the African grasslands on a BBC television show. The hunters patiently waited near a watering hole for several days. Then after shooting an animal with a poison arrow, they spent a day tracking her. In all, it was a seven day affair for meat on their table.
I went to the post office to mail a package. The computer was down and the mailman apologized to me for the wait. It was a rather long wait of 15 minutes, long because we are so accustomed to instant gratification. We are so accustomed to no wait. It has become everyone’s expectation. We now must apologize to each other if there is a wait.
I responded that it was no trouble, for it really wasn't at all, and we spoke about our lives. With a computer down, suddenly we have time for humanness. We see each other.
I wonder if we Americans truly know what patience is anymore? Do we ever need to exercise patience, get to practice patience? Do we ever have to be patient?
There is some noble quality to patience. I am sure of it. It may be something that we need to consciously nourish in our lives these days. Patience may no longer be a given, built in facet to our living and lifestyle.
I was patient with my Hawaii license. From start to finish it took a year. All the paperwork was still actual paper, that had to be mailed back and forth. I was patient for my daughter. I remember 23 years ago I was ready for another child, but my husband wanted to wait a year, and so we did. I considered naming my daughter, “Patience,” since I needed to be patient for her.
When we are recovering from illness, accident or surgery, we need to be patient. Certainly this is where our word, “patient,” comes from, the art and practice of being patient with our healing. The doctors expect us to be patient. What choice do we have? It takes time.
The Webster dictionary defines patience as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.” Perhaps in this definition we may understand the noble quality or spiritual value of patience.
How to be patient? “Live your life as moments,” Ram Dass advises. Place your focus on the now, enjoying and cherishing the moment.