The other way is easy. To be impatient, I mean. To hurry, hurry through whatever task I am doing. To rush, not really being in the moment, as they like to say these days. To bustle through the awake time, bumping into life as if it’s in my way, like I’m shouldering through a pressing crowd. To want it all – the children, the chores, the day – to move more quickly. Annoyed when it, when they, don’t.
I look up the word patient. It’s not really a passive thing. Did you know? It’s not just waiting. It’s more like, endurance. As in the idea of doing something, or even suffering something, in an ongoing, enduring kind of way. I think of things like reading the same book to a toddler, over and over. Or household chores, done daily. Or making meals.
Or doing dishes.
I’m putting the dishes away, out of the dishwasher and into my cupboards. I do it quietly this time. Patiently.
I am thankful for my dishwasher. I haven’t always had one. I open cupboard doors and drawers and I tuck spotless plates and bowls and silverware into their homes. I have all I need. My things are clean and waiting to be used again. I am blessed.
I open a cupboard door and I notice, on the inside, what has become invisible over time. I see childhood notes, the ones made in Sunday School, the one given me the time I came home after a stay in the hospital. I remember my babies as babies, and I think, I am blessed.
I reload the dishwasher with the breakfast things. Knives covered in jam, cups emptied of tea or coffee, the plate my husband used for his bacon and eggs before he left for work. The kids are getting themselves ready for the day, brushing teeth and such, and I think, as I tidy the kitchen, I am so blessed.
This home, this kitchen, this small world of daily family life… it is mine to care for. If I like, I can care patiently.
Today I am patient with my home. I stop and notice and I consider what it means to endure. To complete the jobs that I know will slowly be undone and will need to be done again. The dusted shelves will become dusty once more. The dishes will again need cleaning, the laundry will again need washing and drying and folding, the floors will again need to be swept or mopped.
Today I will care. Endure. Be patient.
Love is patient…
1 Corinthians 13:4