Monday, October 29, 2012

Patience is Virtue

I've heard this saying for years, I wanted to understand it. There are really only two parts to understand; patience and virtue. Since patience is the core of this conversation, I'll begin talking about virtue so we can work our way into the meat of this post.

It is interesting the concepts I found about what virtue is. A virtue is good morality when it comes down to it. Okay, this is a good thing to follow, but as a Christian I can tell you that just being "good" in this world isn't going to get you through the pearly gates, but that's a topic for another time. Aristotle defined a virtue as the "golden mean" between two extremes, not necessarily just the middle. I like that definition. There are many virtues, patience just happens to be one.

Someone can teach you how to play baseball, but chances are if you've never bat before, you won't hit a home run your first try. You need to practice in order to learn this skill. Knowing the pitcher, the wind, your reaction time, velocity, weight of the bat, force needed to swing, a comfortable stance are variables in your ability to hit a home run. Most are unique to each individual and come as habit after practice. Now, think of hitting a home run as patience. Same concept.

You can be told over and over to be patient, but even someone yelling at me to hit a home run wouldn't make it happen.

"Patience is the level of endurance one can handle before negativity." How long you can become increasingly more irritated before a breaking point? I don't know if I like that so much because often being patient leads to a reward, not something negative. The longer someone remains patient that harder it is I believe, at least for me it is.

Clearly I struggle with patience, hence these feelings and research into this topic. I can only imagine it comes with practice and life is practice. I must learn the feelings and signs of patience to gain the trait. Knowing when to be patient is also important. Acting impulsively can be good in the right situation which is all part of learning the virtue. Acting hasty is the one extreme and inert would be a good descriptive opposite.

I've never been patient. I want answers and results NOW. I'm a prime example of the typical human reaction of wanting short term results even knowing waiting long term could yield better results. I don't want to believe burying an electronic in sand will ruin it, I want to find out for myself when I get that electronic in my hand. I don't want to wait for my money to accrue $5 this year, I want to use that money to gain pleasure now. Of course that's not how I see it, but it's easy to act that way. How many times do I need to experience the gratification of patience before I can have self-control to have it when I need it?

Surely my lack of ability to stay focused has a role in this. It is interesting. Time to grow up! 18 days until graduation.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9