Thursday, December 16, 2010

Patience is a Virtue

"Patience is a virtue, my dear."
--The Wisdom of Ross

The origins of this phrase are unclear, but, according to my wife, it used to rank pretty high among the famous, cliched words of wisdom often spoken by my father-in-law (hi, Ross). He has dozens of them; but among his favorites are,

  • "It hurts to be beautiful" (when his girls needed to have their hair brushed).
  • "If 'ifs' and 'buts' were candy and nuts, what a wonderful Christmas it'd be" (when someone uses the words "if" or "but").
  • "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough" (when he does something dumb).
  • "Ra, ra, ree, kick 'em in the knee. Ra, ra, rass, kick 'em in the other knee. (when.... Oh, I just got that one.)
As cliched' as these sage words might have been, they all express some pretty deep truths (except maybe the last one). But the virtue of patience, may be the deepest. As the always poignant Henri Nowen explains:

"A waiting person is a patient person. The word “patience” means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb."
-Henri Nouwen, Eternal Seasons

Here's to the daring virtue of patience and to people, like my father-in-law (hi again, Ross), who have discovered the wisdom of actively waiting.

A Sometimes-Patient Disciple

P.S. Thanks to for sharing this quote.

P.P.S. My father-in-law (hi, Ross) would love to be your Facebook friend.

P.P.P.S. Ross has some other great sayings. For example, whenever my kids ask where grandma is, he responds, "She broke her leg, and we had to shoot her." The response usually results in dropped jaws; but he still says it..., every time.


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