Have you ever wondered why the sick in the hospital are referred to as “patients”? Perhaps it is because they have to “patiently” wait to get well while enduring the inconveniences of swallowing bitter pills, painful surgeries or unavoidable restrictions. From illness gamut to wellness continuum is a trying time that requires a lot of patience.
‘Patience’ recognizes that life is a struggle for each and every one of us. Hence, it is the quality of endurance and calmness in the face of adversity. It is “to bear”, “to endure” whatever life brings our ways, or thrust on our paths.
You need patience in moments of darkness, distress, pain and suffering; patience to keep your cool when you are annoyed or provoked, patience when you are bored, listless or confused. Patience when you are lonely, waiting, and longing for a lover’s warm embrace. Patience when you feel dumped, used, left behind and not appreciated. You require a lot of patience to forgive someone who hurt you so badly, stabbed you in the back, let you down when you needed them most, or a trusted colleague who worked against you when their support should elevate you.
In that much, patience is a form of consideration, which, instead of alienating people and promoting resentment, turns them into friends and allies. It unites estranged hearts, and gives listening ears to all sides of the alibi. Patience removes suspicion, conquers qualms, vindicates the innocent and clears off ghastly mess created by wanton prejudice.
If one may ask: can patience be too much? For patience not to be “too much,” it must be founded on knowledge and action. There are these thin lines between being patient and being passive, being tolerant and being foolish. Patience is not laziness, stupidity, or cowardice. It is not mediocrity, fatalism, or ignorance. Patience is deliberate, sincere, and based on wisdom. It is closely related to courage, steadfastness and the endurance required for pursuing a goal to its logical conclusion. It comes with the attitude of fortitude. It is willpower, forethought, sticking-to-it, and not giving up, so long as you are not running in the wrong direction.
Patience can be difficult, but it is not impossible. It is not a burden, but a moral obligation. Whether we understand the wisdom behind it or not, we should embrace it wholeheartedly: with joy and determination. After all, no one in history has ever regretted being patient. From the words of Arnold H. Glasgow, “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”