If I speak in the tongues Or languages of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13, NIV
I like to joke that I never prayed for patience because if I did, I know that God would likely test me in order to build up my skills. Turns out, after driving in Austin traffic, maybe I should have prayed more after all.
But also, I decided to have children. If that isn’t a cry for ‘teach me patience’, I don’t know what is.
Parenting small children is hard. I’m sure parenting period is hard, but my only experience is with small children. They know all the ways to push your buttons and enjoy watching you completely lose your mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my children more than I ever thought possible. And likely, as a result of that, I’m more patient with them than I ever dreamed possible. Most of the time. But tonight, after ‘E’ had pushed her sister for the hundredth time and ‘A’ continued antagonizing her sister by taking her toys just as many times – I lost it. It was a rough afternoon. I was mad. E was mad. A is only one, so she didn’t really understand.
My patience were gone. I had lost them. There was yelling. There were tears. There were tantrums. And in that time – there was little love. Just anger and frustration and resentment.
Thankfully, children are resilient. E and A are in bed now and they will have forgotten the woes of this evening and we can start anew in the morning.
Today, I pray that I can offer forgiveness like a child. The patience of teachers to their pupils. And the ability to share grace given to me to others.
How can you show love to those around you by being more patient?