the patience of a saint

Patience2I don’t have it.

I am one of the most impatient people I have ever met.

I have prayed for patience, but that usually resulted in the birth of child. (My husband and I joke that when you ask for patience, God gives you an opportunity to practice it. And for us, children seem to provide the best means of that practice.)

Today, I’m trying to be patient not with my kids, but with my mom. She’s 81, and she’s having breast cancer surgery. To put it simply, she is not a good patient.

She would disagree with this, but her anxiety about all things medical, coupled with her intelligence and true knowledge about matters biological (she was a medical technologist, after all) make her a challenge sometimes. Tossing in her partial deafness and life of bad experiences, and you get lots of opportunities to be patient.

I’m not so stupid and blind that I can’t recognize that she has plenty of reasons to be “challenging.” She does have cancer, after all. She is about to undergo surgery. She has had many seriously bad experiences in her lifetime that color her perceptions.

But I find that often when we are together, I become so impatient with her that I can hardly function. I want her to stop asking questions and obey the staff. I want her to speak quietly. I want her to be cooperative.

Of course I’ve never given her any reason to be impatient with me, right?

Hmm…..she is my mother, after all. Might she have been impatient when I wouldn’t sleep through the night or become potty-trained? Maybe she was a tad impatient when I stayed out until all hours of the night when I was a teen.

OK, so now it’s my turn to be patient with her. The patience of a saint? Maybe not. The patience of a mother? I’ve got some experience with that.

I may not have been called to show the patience that early missionaries had when they sailed across oceans to visit remote islands. I lack the patience of saintly priests who worked tirelessly yet saw no interest in the people they served. I wasn’t called to that.

But I am called to show patience to those God has placed in my life – and that includes my mom.

So I’m off for more practice. Prayers appreciated.