Patience is a Virtue I Struggle to Have

Today at work, I made my boss’s boss’s boss really angry. I made a mistake. It was a $200 mistake, and the biggest one I’ve made since I started. The worst part of it all was that it was a mistake that I don’t make. 

The truth of the matter is that I am good at my job. I am very good. When I make mistakes, I never make them again. I listen intently. I pay attention to areas where I can improve, and in areas of high risk, I’m extra cautious. That’s why today’s mistake was pretty humiliating. I authorized something that I shouldn’t have, not because I didn’t know, not because I hadn’t been trained to be careful, but because, in a moment of sheer impatience, I went ahead and did something about it. It was an item on my to-do list, and I wanted it gone.

It was a mistake that I don’t make. Or so I thought.

The truth is that even in moments when we think we’re doing well or we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re on the right track, those small weaknesses we leave unchecked can derail us. Impatience is one of them for me.

Lately, I’ve been so impatient for a lot of things to happen in my life. I’m impatient to get to snow season so that I can break out my snowboard. I’m impatient for my year mark at my job to come, because I’ve been considering making a big(ish) move, and I want to give what I promised before then. I’m impatient about my relationships with other people. Mostly, I’m impatient with myself, because frankly, I’ve been screwing up a lot lately. I’m going through a lot of hard, internal battles that I’ve never confronted but have needed to fight for a very long time, battles over paradigms and attitudes that aren’t healthy or productive. And enduring that has been lonely and difficult.

“Endure to the end” is perhaps the hardest challenge of this life. Having the patience to endure is the first step.You know what’s the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about endurance, specifically in the context of Christ asking us to endure? The Atonement. How could anyone endure that? How could anyone have the patience to get through that? Perhaps that’s the challenge with the Atonement — if I had to do it, I would give up. I’d never be able to make it. Maybe that’s why I struggle to comprehend it.

I don’t want to mess up my whole life in moments of impatience. Sometimes I feel I’ve done that. How do you endure? Tell me. It’s a mystery I long to solve in my own life. 

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1 comment

  1. In another of your blog posts, “My Name’s Ari and I’m Human” I mentioned being attacked by a pack of five wolves. All. Night. Long. I mentioned how I came to the forest at night to check on a vulnerable friend to make sure he was not being eaten by wolves.

    Though not yet a member (the wolf-thing happened when I was 17, didn’t join the Church until I was 18) I figured I was getting some positive points? Blessings? For my efforts.

    Around the tenth time the wolves came back to attack, I believe I even said out loud: “Oh, COME ON!”

    The wolves, rather rudely I thought, neglected to enlighten me as to the “why” of their annoying behavior.

    They still haven’t. They never call. They never write.

    Oh. Yes.

    That’s how I endure.

    Humor.

    Plus prayer, of course. (God likes my humor.)

    And…

    Breath in for four counts…breath out four counts…

    Relax your body…Relax your brain.

    Relax your emotions.

    Stepping into the darkness…into the unknown CAN be scary.

    It’s not unknown to God.

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