Patience, n. A minor form of despair, disguised as a virtue. [Ambrose Bierce, “Devil’s Dictionary,” 1911]
As someone who has always liked words, for both their meanings, their sounds and the ways they can make you feel when properly placed with others, I find myself often confused by the meanings of common ones. Our brains are complex, and the fact that they can process so much information and seemingly organize the depth of a single word is nothing less than impressive.
Over the last year, I’ve developed the skill of recognizing when I’m overwhelmed without letting my emotions fog up my brain too much. (Of course I still do a little, feelings are fun.) But sometimes the complexity of the chaos in our brains leaves us very little room to trust the stability of the foundation buried somewhere underneath of it. Like anything, we need maintenance. We need to find the root of all issues in order to resolve them.
So, as the snow has been thick on the ground for weeks now, how the temperature dances around freezing, and how my near future is truly unknown, I decided to come back to the current mantra in my mind, and what it actually means: historically, culturally, etc.
“From the English word patience, ultimately from Latin patientia, a derivative of pati “to suffer”.
It’s okay that you feel uncomfortable at times. It’s okay when you have to admit facing a situation is more than difficult. It’s okay when your body begins to reject the cold. It’s okay to recognize that your sweater doesn’t feel as soft as the warm sun will. It’s okay to not always feel strong. Finding peace in patience, in suffering, is never going to be easy.
But I’m here to tell you, when that relief comes, it will be oh, so sweet.