Patience as a Virtue

We had a little lesson in patience this week. Okay, we’ve been having a big lesson in patience this whole year, haven’t we? I don’t know about you, but I think I am finally getting sick of this lockdown — even as an introvert. We’ve been waiting. We’ve been waiting for haircuts and restaurant meals and movie theatres. We’ve been waiting in grocery lineups and online check out queues for the free shipping days. We’ve been waiting to get back to family gatherings and celebrations and hugging. Yes, even me. I’ve been waiting, too.

We had a smaller lesson in patience this week — a simple one that no one really noticed except me. Which was the inspiration for this week’s muse. Let me explain. One of our favourite “snacks” is something called Butterscotch Confetti. It’s easy to make and yummy. I was going to post the recipe, but remembered I already did! So… check that out here. Anyway… the youngest decided to make up a batch of the decadent “squares” (Did you know that Canadians call them “squares” and American’s call them “bars”… total side note but I am just free writing… so, hey what the heck…go on a rabbit trail… Wonder what other countries call such desserts… oh, a muse for anther time….)

Where was I? Oh yeah. Butterscotch squares. So, when you make these things, you melt all kinds of yummy goodness in a pot and then you have to “wait until you can hold your hand on the bottom of the pot before adding your coloured marshmallows”. Herein lies the lesson in patience. Wait. It’s a delicate balance, because if you don’t wait, your marshmallows melt and you get a sticky mess… I’ve seen it done. But if you wait too long, then your other ingredients start to harden into the fudge-like dessert they are supposed to be… without your marshmallows. You get it. Now, I have a fairly high heat bearing feel, so I tend to be impatient and throw in the coloured package of squishes fairly early. So far they have not melted away yet, though. And so I marveled as the pot sat on the stove as my daughter “waited” for it to cool. I usually have something to fill in my time so never have I “waited” for this task to occur… at least not that I have noticed before. Hence, this week’s muse.

Patience. The old time phrase “patience is a virtue” was never actually quoted as such in the Bible. Patience is not a “virtue”. Or is it?

“Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.” Prov. 15:18. “Love is patient. Love is kind” 1 Corinthians 4:13, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Rom 12:12. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph. 4:2. And that is only a sampling of the verses that talk about this all important fruit of the spirit. Obviously, patience is something we need to work on in our lives. Let’s be honest, though, it’s a difficult one. To the mom who has the two year old who wants to put on her own shoes when you are already late leaving for your appointment. To the parent who has the wayward teenager who must learn the hard way. To the senior who has to care for the body who doesn’t work the way it used to. Sometimes there is no answer and we just have to go through it. Then patience is not in the waiting …but in the day to day, one foot in front of the other kind of patience which is linked arm and arm with endurance.

Learning patience is not simply an emotional response to a trying situation, either. It involves your belief system, your physical ability to self control and self regulate as well as your thoughts about gratitude. Does your impatience lead to anger, or can you hold your breath, count to 10 and take control of the time? Are you grateful for where you are now or are you waiting for the next best thing…now. Do you dump those marshmallows too early?? It takes practice.

I discovered that the word “virtue” is used to describe a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards: doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. Is patience worthy of “virtue” then? Perhaps. It certainly is a Biblical truth that should be practiced and “worked on”. Especially if you want perfectly decadent butterscotch confetti.