This morning, writing at the library for a couple of hours, I stopped by the desk to ask about three books, that, according to my on-line account, had not been check in but that I thought I had returned last week. Really, this is no big deal, but I was feeling that it was.
The big deal for me was my impatience about it all. I was annoyed that I had to devote my precious time to locating the books, especially since I was certain that I had returned them. Oh, the arrogance! No humility warranted here! Then. as I sensed the librarian noticing my impatience, I felt ashamed. This isn’t the kind of person I want to be.
Scripture offers NO affirmation for impatience! Check out Abraham and Sarah, Saul, Job, the psalmists, and don’t forget the Prodigal Son.
The New Testament in particular has plenty to say about patience. What strikes me how it is linked with other virtues.
2 Corinthians 6:6: ‘in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love.’
Colossians 3:12: ‘Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’
And my favorite, Galatians 6:22. ‘By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.’ St. Paul finishes the verse with this zinger—‘There is no law against such things.’
I’m trying to observe my impatience. Unlike my experience with the librarian, I don’t think others usually notice it (Um! I could be wrong). But I notice it in my body and in my mumbling. In summary, I get impatient when my (precious) time is infringed upon and when my control is being (unjustly) taken from me. But what to do about this? Pray, of course. Deep breaths to relax; breathe in the Light; ask the Holy Spirit for patience; forgive myself and others. That’s a start, anyway.
I found one of the books on the library shelf (their error), one back home (my error), and we’re still searching for the third. I immediately took the book found at home back to the librarian, along with a true confession. Before I marched myself back across the street, however, I took some deep breaths and start the prayers, asking for a little patience to creep in.