By Monica C. Voskamp
Don’t ask me about love….how love is patient. I don’t understand.
What is ‘patient love‘ in my life? Is it something that sees my tears, hears my frustrations, hears me when I swear, feels me when I’m exasperated with the world, with my health, with religion? Is it what sees that I’m in so much pain and I don’t know how to make the drive home, never mind comprehend working a long shift tomorrow? Is it something or someone that takes all the awful mess I’m in, the mess I feel and AM… and yet, *still* wants to embrace me????
How can love be patient with….with me? (Is that even possible?!)
I know me. I know how impatient I can feel, how impatient I am tonight.
A way to make more money can’t come fast enough. An answer and relief from my head pain can’t come fast enough. The letters on my keyboard sure don’t keep up with my thoughts. I’m impatient; I know that. And for sure as the sun shines yellow, I am NOT the definition of love.
I want a husband and children like tomorrow. I want all the answers to my spiritual wrestling’s.. tonight. (Yes, I guess want spiritual resolution a bit sooner than a man ha.)
I’m tired..tired of waiting for sooo many things, and not seeing them happening. I’m frustrated, disappointed, angry, and sad tonight. I’m disheartened that things can’t come fast enough. I’m not waiting very well. I’m sure that’s where patience comes in.
I know how to do impatience. It’s full blown in me tonight as I battle high sensory pain and demand and plead myself: Hurry up, be well! You need to fix your broken car, save for a reliable car, work enough to do so. My body screams everything I don’t want to hear.
My body screams with impatience for all weariness, pain, stress and frustrations to be over. I know impatience.
But patience? What is that? I need to stop and catch my breathe for a minute…
You know what’s bothered me all these years. My middle name. Okay, let me explain. My middle name is Charity. It means love, beloved.
I have a name that means love, but I have NO idea what it is. I’m so far from defining, understanding it. I carry a name beyond me. Why did my parents give such a name? My dad chose my middle name: Love.
Maybe, like me, he also wondered, inwardly craved to know what this thing called love really is. Maybe he also recognized he wasn’t the definition of love and thought just maybe his daughter would have better luck figuring it out. Ha. A lot of maybes.
That’s hypothetical. My Dad’s a religious man, who believes in God and God’s message of love. Somehow though, I don’t know that message so well. Yet I carry this name and it bothers me.
Funny thing is, I’m feverishly impatient to know what love is. That’s the irony, love is patient. The very first adjective to describe love is what I lack: patience.
How would you describe patience?
What or who do you think of when you hear the word patient?
I think of my mom.
She housed long hours having 5 kids, getting them off to school, working hours to keep 2 pig barns running, made home cooked meals, sewed our clothes, stretched the money so we had food to eat…she had $100 a month to feed a family of 7! She made it work; we were well fed! She put in a huge garden and cared for it. My mom didn’t give up when she was pregnant with her fifth child and her mom died at the same time.
You know what she named that last little girl? Joy.
She had just experienced life and death so closely. I imagine my mom waiting to find joy again. And while that seed brewed, she put a label on something tangible in her life: her newborn daughter, Joy.
My mom never gave up. Every marriage has their flaws and she could’ve spoken of them. She didn’t, instead she praised my dad and held her tongue if she thought otherwise. 🙂 She went to South America 5 kids in tow, and kept on faithful as a mom, wife and woman.
She was human, but she plodded on in the years away from friends and family and stuck out in a desert place to do missionary work. I only saw her visible frustration a few times. I saw her tears, many.
I was a stubborn teenager who was very unpleasant to my mom to say the least. But she didn’t yell back at me. She’s shown me her hurt but she didn’t give up trying to love me. She kept encouraging, trying to reach and understand where I was at.
My mom has learned and models this thing called patience.
I remember my mom always seeing the best in hard situations and in all people. She still does. 🙂
Maybe that’s a clue.
It takes patience to believe something beautiful can, will happen in what looks like an awful situation.
Patience is interwoven with perseverance but with a beautiful touch of goodness.
Patience give permission for the ugly to be where it’s at and gently nurses it towards life.
Patience believes. Patience has hope. Patience is it’s own sort of goodness.
It’s NOT tapping your fingers on the steering wheel, exhaling and holding off cursing at the long light or irresponsible drivers. (Those drivers are out there!)
It’s being there in a traffic jam with drivers screaming rudeness and selfishly pushing you out of your lane, yet it’s being there in a state of goodness…not toleration or holding your breathe to keep in torpedoes of angry, fiery emotions.
Patience steadily sees and believes beauty in each moment and in the moments to come. It keeps beating to the rhythm of this contrary-to-humanity drum.
Love is patient.
Love gives permission to others and yourself to breathe and be at ease. It doesn’t force itself or others. It waits with a strong confident gentleness. And, it gives what isn’t always deserved.
The gift of patience isn’t in a hurry for anyone or anything to be unlike what it is in this present moment.
Patience breathes stillness and permission for others to be free and move forward. Patience doesn’t rush, it’s the gentle strong heartbeat waiting and continuing simultaneously.
Patience is reassuring while empowering.
Love is patient. I have experienced it. People have displayed patience to me. When I think of all those patient moments, I smile. I was given such a beautiful gift.
Who are the people or situations in your life that have gifted you with patience? What did that feel like?
I hope it makes you smile and grateful for those patient gifters. And so yes, I’ve discovered this first definition of love is true: Love is patient, and patience is a gift of love.