Patience is a virtue, I’ve heard. Patience is a Fruit of the Spirit, so I’ve read (Galatians 5:22-23). Patience is suddenly my new learning curve, it seems.
I finished chemo, got the good news that my PET scan in June was clean, and set myself about the task of regaining strength! I set goals. I made a “to do” list for the summer with things on it like: eat lots of veggies every day, walk at least a mile 3-4 times a week, and get plenty of sleep.
And then my doctor told me that her patients recovering from chemotherapy consistently tell her that they finally regain about 85% of their energy six months after their last chemo treatment…
SIX MONTHS?!?!? ONLY 85%???? That’s not until Thanksgiving for me! She looked at my list and said, “Oh, absolutely, you should try to do all of these things. But it takes time, so you have to be patient with yourself.” She also said that after 12 months, most patients feel like they have regained almost or close to 95% of their former energy.
Patience… I like to think of myself as being fairly patient. However my family and friends, in honest moments, tell me something different. But I think that most people struggle with patience on a regular basis. We struggle with patience:
- In healing
- While waiting for our prayers to be answered
- When dealing with some of our family
- When trying to teach something to others
- When working in teams where we rely on one another to do different parts of a job
As you read this, you could probably add to this list. We all have moments when patience is not our best virtue, with ourselves or others, and then we enter the struggle of trying to peacefully wait.
The good news is that God IS patient, especially with us. Time and time again, God gives every single one of us second chances, always forgiving, always continuing to surround us with love. It’s one of the blessings of Baptism.
I recently met with a family to talk about Baptism, and this aspect of God was clearly significant to one of the family members. When I asked about faith in God and why Baptism was important, the patient God of second chances and constant forgiveness was what he talked about.
As people of faith, we center hearts on the presence of God, and strive to learn from God how to be patient. The good news is that it doesn’t rely just on us. As Paul writes in Galatians, patience is a fruit of the Spirit.
Through our Baptism, the Holy Spirit is at work on the rough edges of our hearts to guide us into living more fully into the image of God. In those times when your patience wears thin with yourself or others, take deep breaths and remember God’s infinite patience with you. As you do this, lift up a prayer to the Holy Spirit, to help you work on those growing edges, like patience. Then move forward, trusting that God will lead you and walk with you.
Pastor Susan Lynch