“Love is patient…”(1 Cor 13:4) In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he first associates love with patience. A definition of patience is “bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.” With all the times I’ve fallen short of God’s commandments, I’m very grateful that He is so patient with me, even when I get impatient with myself for not doing His will as I should.
Is it easier to be patient with someone we know versus a stranger? It might seem that we can be more patient with family and friends since we are familiar with their quirks. But there are times when our loved ones seem to know just exactly what buttons to push. I may be able to bear the annoyance, but doing so without complaint or irritation is the hard part. On the other hand, with a stranger, it can be easier to not give into the irritation since we do not know their situation. While we may not show our frustration with a stranger, the complaining may happen after the fact when we talk with our family or friends.
There are lots of different personalities evident where I work, and not all of my colleagues are easy going. Recently it seems that I’ve had to work with the more challenging people. I have been praying for more patience, so that I’m not reacting on a personal level, getting angry and defensive. I’ve realized that I can’t “get” patience, though, it’s something I just need to practice. And I can’t practice it unless I’m placed in challenging situations. While there is one part of me that cautions to be careful what you pray for, the other part of me knows that such situations can only help make me a more patient person. Part of my communication with God is to help me step back and approach the situation with a peaceful heart, looking for what would be for the good of the company, the customer or other employees. Then I can be more patient, compassionate and merciful with my coworkers.
We are all called to love one another, and being patient with others is love. I pray that I can continue to learn how to love through the virtue of patience.