The Art of Being Patient

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries & ATB&B

As I listened to Mr. Bill Gordon rehearse with the Youth Choir the hymn they will sing on Baptism Sunday, I was struck by the lyrics. The first adjective to describe the "Saints of God" is patient. Not holy, or devout, or pious. The second and third adjectives are brave and true. Even Webster's dictionary's definition of saint is "a person who is officially recognized by the Christian church as being very holy because of the way he or she lived." It doesn't mention patience. So without any aspirations or expectations of canonization, I did ponder whether anyone would use the adjective patient to describe me on any given day. Granted, some days are better than others when you consider the definition of patient: able to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people. I do have a propensity to want to move things along in the most expeditious way. When you think of all the ways that one's patience can be tested, it's a wonder anyone has that adjective attributed to them. Certainly in the world of the preschool environment there are countless opportunities to test the patience of the teachers. And for the parents? Have you ever been in the car line queue on any given morning for drop-off? Talk about trying one's patience!

For all of us in our lives there are many occasions to assess our patience. Not just in the context at the beginning of the month when we sing of the Saints of God. But also at the end of the month as families come together for the Thanksgiving celebration - whatever that may be for your family. Guests not arriving on time, food not ready when you expected it to be, or the endless miles of traffic as you try to get from one relatives home to another. Or even the patience to wait until at least the day after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas shopping and not succumb to the marketing efforts of stores open Thanksgiving Day!

I know the virtue of patience does not come easily for me. But I will take heart in the words of St. Francis de Sales: "Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself".

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!