In her blog, In Kairos, Joy McCracken spoke to my heart today. Joy is in Africa, learning about herself and passing it on to others, as well as simply sharing the adventures of four months in Uganda going to school.
Joy speaks of patience, and a book, Compassion, by Henry Nowen, who says, in the last chapter on patience,
"Patience means to enter actively into the thick of life and to fully bear the suffering within and around us. Patience is the capacity to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell as fully as possible the inner and outer events of our lives."
Joy says, "I hate being patient because it makes me feel powerless and trapped. Or when someone tells me to be patient I just want to slap them in the face because it seems like an answer you give someone when you want them to feel better or you have nothing else to say. Also, I really do enjoy instant gratification...even though I know that long-term stuff is usually better."
(I love Joy's honest writing and anticipate a book or two or three from her. I was her first editor many years ago when she was 13 and wrote a book.)
Later, she says, "...redefining patience in this way changes it from a virtue some people have and others don't into a discipline everyone can work for."
Ah, discipline. Over the years I have apologized to mom many times for losing my patience. One time she said, "Oh honey, you lose your patience, but you have been very patient."
The long-term stuff.
Like Joy, who in her blog says, "I'm a flee-er," I sometimes wish I could flee, that I didn't have the discipline so that instead of being here for mom I could be in Bamff, Canada for Christmas.
The trick is to recognize small ways to flee. There's nothing healthy about patience turned to martyrdom. With good boundaries, with a clear sense of my own priorities, that have somehow gotten lost in the ongoing drama, I can make it through this without attendant drama, guilt, and crisis. I pray that it is so.
Then it will be time for patience of another sort. Patience for what life continually brings, with or without centenarian mothers, who, when she is gone, I will miss.
To read more of Joy's writing, click on In Kairos in blogs I am following.