In the past, I never thought of myself as an impatient person. I now know that I had just not reached that chapter in the annals of my personal growth. I had rarely been pushed beyond the limits of my patience. My current vocation—motherhood—incessantly tests and prods the development of this elusive virtue. Daily I am humbled by the patience that it takes to learn patience. My greatest encouragement is that I do not pull the Patience card every time I sit down with the deck. Perhaps the powers beyond are being patient with me.
Alas, Pajapati sits before me now. I take heart in her calming presence. The cool tones of the image remind me of winter. This morning, I awoke to the season’s first snowfall. Stepping out into daybreak’s tranquil light and snow-fairy dusting, I recalled how the heavy blankets of deep winter offer a refuge of serenity. My shoulders relax just thinking of afternoon dusk and fireside knitting.
For me, though, patience is about resting within the moment without jumping ahead to what I imagine is just around the corner. Patience is courting me now as my fingers itch watching my little guy struggle with his laces, or I take a deep breath before again asking the children to put their shoes in the closet not on the kitchen counter, or I slow my pace to match my old dog’s deliberate gait.
Too often I feel myself being sucked down the rabbit hole of edginess and annoyance. And for such moments, the Rilke quote that we paired with this card is my guiding light: “If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.” I know well the remorse and regret that immediately follows the sharp words escaping from my mouth when patience again slips through my fingers. Pajapati reminds me not to give up; patience is synonymous with staying power. At least I can now feel the pull of impatience rather than falling headlong without warning.
Nevertheless, the irony that I am the one teaching my children patience gives me pause. I try to gently steady the eager hand grabbing for a yummy morsel or sweetly remind my daughter that we wait until everyone has finished eating before blowing out the candle. But in truth, my children are the models of patience in this house. I admire how my son carefully explains a new game to his little sister and lets her play alongside him although she follows her own set of rules. I recall how excruciatingly long it takes to learn to read or play an instrument or even hold a paint brush. And, I strengthen my resolve to tend my words and my ways when I think of the kindness and patience that Haven and Afton extend to me, even in my worst moments.
How are you practicing patience?