They don’t sell patience at Target. I’ve checked.
If I look at myself honestly, and truly that’s the only way I know how to look at myself, I have many of the qualities that make for a good mom. I’m loving (my three littles are hugged and kissed to excess all day every day), I’m nurturing, I’m skilled at the art of extreme silliness, and I’m a good teacher.
What I’m not by nature is patient.
My lack of patience is somewhat legendary in my family, and in my marriage. It shows its less-than-pretty face in any number of situations from driving (it took years to adjust to the slower driving pace of the south) to walking behind a slow person at the mall. And yes, it shows itself in my life as a mom. There are days when I feel like I wake up with a short supply and days when a seeming surplus is all used up by dinnertime.
I’ve often thought about patience as either a gift or a commodity. Something you were born with or something you could acquire. And if you could acquire it, where better to look than Target? I mean I’m there at least three times a week and they seem to have everything else I need and so very many things I don’t need but end up in my cart anyway.
As I pondered and prayed about and wished for patience again this week, I had a surprising thought. I’m nearly certain that I’ve been thinking about patience all wrong. Sure there are people who have more gentle, even-keel dispositions who probably do have a deeper well of patience. I will never have a gentle, even-keel disposition. But I do think there’s something I can do to gain more patience. It starts with a shift in thinking.
I am going to cultivate patience.
For me, patience is going to be like a garden. Something that I tend to and care for, providing it with enough water and sunlight. It’s going to be up to me to determine what is the right combination of water and sunlight for my particular garden to grow. I know that getting up and exercising before my kids wake up helps. So does getting even ten minutes of quiet time in the afternoon. An adequate amount of sleep is a big factor but one that I forget to prioritize. And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. In harried moments of motherhood – or when I feel like I’m just not doing it right (whatever “right” is), I turn to Mary. And she helps. Every time.
I’m hoping to discover more secrets – maybe even some things I can do that will act like a fertilizer, helping my garden of patience grow. Because I know that with greater patience I can be a better mom.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on patience and any strategies that work for you!
Copyright 2014, Marilee Haynes