I feel tired. These past few days (or even months!) I haven’t had much sleep at all. I was at home alone with both children and my son has been struggling with his tummy and teething.
When I am tired like this I find it much harder to be patient. I can get angry over little things, like my daughter tipping over her drink. I don’t like seeing myself like this.
While thinking about patience, I discovered the word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means “to suffer”. When I was reflecting on this, it seemed to be quite negative while I have often thought of patience as being something positive. We all want to be patient, but who would want to suffer? We would all say that we want to grow in patience, but who would say they want to get better at suffering?
Well, it seems that to be patient we have to be willing to suffer a bit!
I like the definition Henri Nouwen, a Catholic Priest, gives of patience:
“Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.”
When I think of when my patience has been tested the most, it is actually often linked to waiting. It is when my children require me to just be with them and put everything else on hold. It is about stopping, pausing, putting all my needs (including the need to sleep!) aside and making myself fully available. Not just available, but to also find joy in those exact moments.
To be able to see the privilege I have been given to look after these children, be there with and for them day and night, be so intimate with them, share my everything, my life with them. Now that’s a real treasure! A source of so much joy! It’s a bit similar to what I wrote in a post a few days ago, about meditation through breastfeeding. So this seems to be a hot topic in my life at the moment.
No, I haven’t felt patient at all, but it seems that it is in the lack of sleep and the daily struggles that I can discover some real treasures:
“When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else…”
“Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are…”
“Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.”