I need it more than ever with stubborn and strong people who are set in their ways and think they know everything. I need it when, I disagree with people about caregiving and when matters of beauracracy take center stage.
I went to confession some time ago and I summed up my sins as honestly as I could. A former colleague once remarked that most of us have only one main sin. And that most of our sins stem from this seminal sin. For me, impatience tops that list. I get impatient and then get angry with a staff member or a student. I get impatient and lash out at people. I get impatient even for good things like justice and rush a decision that would be better thought out more carefully.
I especially have little patience for those I most love. I expect more from them often and my expectations often bite me squarely on the tuckus.
My confessor, a good one, remarked that this was an honest admission of my faults and then asked me a question:
“Mike, what is one of your biggest strengths?”
I paused for a brief moment and then said with little hesitation…
I am an incredibly patient spiritual director. One directee once remarked, “How do you calmly sit there and not scream at me when you listen to all the stupid things I do over and over?”
I’m the guy who you want sitting next to you when you have an unruly child on an airplane, because I’ll entertain them with videos of my dog until they calm down.
One my staff members routinely praises me for my gift of being incredibly patient.
So at times, our largest sin, is also one of our biggest strengths. And Ignatius would remind us that we are able to overcome the enemy with the cunning and shrewd gift of our own gifts.
And we need nothing more other than God’s love and God’s grace which gave us these gifts in the first place.
May God today bring us all awareness of this gift and more ever more readily. And allow us to persevere when we think our gifts are lacking.