Over the past couple of days I’ve noticed that the patience seems to be the topic of the week. As we approach the midnight hour signaling the beginning of 2009 it’s not unusual for people to reflect on the past year and make their famous “resolutions”. I know many parents ask for patience with their children. Employees hope that their bosses will develop patience. How many people you know, who are diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness, are asking for patience?
The idea of patience for those facing health challenges crossed my path as I began reading about the life of St. Teresa of Avila, translated by Mirabai Starr. Teresa of Avila (prior to sainthood) was a young nun at the monastery when she was helping care for a nun who had an abdominal obstruction. What she took away from the experience was the amazing patience the ailing nun had developed while coping with intense pain. Teresa of Avila shares that she asked, in prayer, for an illness that would help her attain that ultimate level of patience. Teresa of Avila did develop a terrible illness and fought valiantly to overcome her health issues.
I’m not saying that any of you would ever hope, wish or pray for an illness to learn patience. I’m torn between totally understanding it and thinking it’s the wildest and craziest thing I’ve ever heard. I guess the real question is that once the health challenge is present what will you walk away learning about yourself? What qualities will your develop and nurture that you didn’t realize were a part of your being and how will that reflect on your daily life and your relationships?
I’m focusing on patience here, but it could be any particular aspect of your character. You get to decide what is surfacing for you. What’s working you? What’s that thing that keeps popping up and trying to get your attention? What will it take for you to give “it” your attention? Why are you keeping “it” at arms length? The truth isn’t something to be afraid of, it’s a part of you and “it” wants you to experience the intimacy.
We all have lots of lessons to learn in life and the hope is that by increasing our wellness quotient, we’ll have plenty of time to make that happen.