What I have learned

Published by Erica on

Patience is not just waiting for something. Somehow it has perpetually evaded my consciousness that being patient is more than recognizing that things won’t happen on my timetable. Be patient for dinner, be patient for that phone call, be patient for blessings…… so often it just seems to imply that we’re waiting for something to happen. And, in part, we are. Elder Wirthlin gave a talk in 1987 and said this. “Dictionaries define patience in such terms as bearing pain or sorrow calmly or without complaint; not being hasty or impetuous; being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.” Two out of the three definitions there I have never really considered.

1. Bearing pain or sorrow calmly or without complaint. 
Anyone who has talked to me lately (who knows what’s been going on the past two-ish weeks) is well aware that I have been openly vocal about the pain of the situation. In fact, I almost felt guilty on Sunday when the bishop asked me how I was and I said “fine.” I downright lied to the man. Oh well…. it was better than getting into everything with half the ward standing around. I think that being honest about feeling pain and complaining about the situation are two different things, though. I know I have crossed at times into complaints, and some of that “bearing of sorrow” was anything but calm but….. I think I handled things better, or at least differently, than I have in times past. I hope so. Trials are supposed to be a time of learning, and sometimes I have a hard time moving forward when I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be learning or doing. I’ve decided that this particular aspect of patience is something I’ll work on – study, practice, improve. 

3. Being steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.
This trait is something I recognized as being important, but I never really connected it with patience. In my mind I saw it more as — trials are where you grow, so its not enough to just exist through them. You have to gracefully endure and press forward through them. Patience seems such a passive action, but it actually helps to recognize that there is action and motion involved.  President Uchtdorf expressed this in his talk for the priesthood session of general conference (April 2010).  

I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort. There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!” 

I often wish there were something more tangible I could be doing to reach my goal (this one in specific). I suppose that’s something I else I can learn from this- what I need to keep doing to endure well. Ok, well, I guess I spoke too quickly, because Pres. Uchtdorf continues and explains what to do.

Ultimately, patience means being “firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord” every hour of every day, even when it is hard to do so. In the words of John the Revelator, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and . . . faith [in] Jesus.”

2. Not being hasty or impetuous.
In Elder Wirthlin’s talk, he explained what it really means when we doubt the Lord’s timetable. 

Finally, a word about patience with our Heavenly Father and his plan of eternal progression. How incredibly foolish to be impatient with him, the Father of our spirits, who knows everything and whose work and glory, through his Son, Jesus Christ, is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Patience is tied very closely to faith in our Heavenly Father. Actually, when we are unduly impatient, we are suggesting that we know what is best—better than does God. Or, at least, we are asserting that our timetable is better than his. Either way we are questioning the reality of God’s omniscience” (Ensign, Oct. 1980, p. 28). Elder Wirthlin
I think this is one of my hardest things to grasp: that the Lord has a timetable for me and that He answers the prayer of faith. Does my faithful praying change the timetable? If I’m asking for what I want and indicate my wishes that said event occur relatively soon (say, in the next year or so), am I just mocking/questioning His omniscience? I don’t know. Sometimes I’ve erred on the side of “it will come when it should come and the Lord will take care of me.” Now I’m much more leaning to the side of “I’m going to pray and pray and pray this here until it gets here, which will of course be sooner and not later because of my prayer of faith.” I don’t know which one is better, or if one works and the other doesn’t. The second option does seem a bit more of an active approach, and its not necessarily precluding the possibility that I’ll be waiting just as long as I would have with the first option.

I don’t know if anyone has survived to read this far. Sorry: I guess this post is more for my benefit than anyone else’s. To sum up: I’m happy today. I have slept well now for two nights, and I think my streak of poor sleep is over. (Up until Tuesday night, I’d only had one decent night of sleep since the 9th.) I can listen to 99% of music again. I feel like I am a lot closer to reclaiming my confident, independent self. I might still cry sometimes. I reserve that right. I guarantee that I’ll still get down-hearted sometimes. But today, I feel like I’m stepping out of the muck and moving back towards the green pastures. If I can add a personal note, I never was angry at him for breaking my heart. Deeply hurt, but not angry. I wish him the best. I’m happy to be happy. And maybe, just maybe, I won’t be waiting another 4 years to be in a serious relationship again.

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