Love is Patient

What does it mean for love to be patient?

Why is it the first word used to describe love?

I would have started with caring or kind

But God starts with patient

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7

I know impatience is unloving

Like when you snap at a family member in frustration

Born of a selfish disregard for the other

A task orientation

Agenda before relationship

Something my Type A overachieving self

Is all too familiar with

I am not patient as a rule

But I admire people who are

The high school teacher who gives up a planning period

Because a student wants to talk

The engineer who starts the project all over again

Because of an unknown flaw

The preschool teacher who gently redirects

For the ten millionth time

I could never teach preschool

As my parents have aged

Not that they are old as my mom reminds me often

Patience is required more often

My mom’s knees requiring such a slow pace

It seems as if the world is on fast forward by comparison

As we meander towards our eventual destination

So worth it for her warm smile

The pleasure of her company

But still an adjustment for me

So used to life running on all cylinders

Unused to the slow setting on anything

And I’ve just begun to glimpse

The other side of this equation

As I, too, am aging

My memory not as sharp

My daughter laughs sometimes at my forgetting

My body taking longer than it used to for some tasks

When I was younger

So full of confidence

I think I sometimes bowled people over

Prioritizing the accomplishment of the moment

Only accomplishments fade

And moments do not come again

The exciting new idea

Eventually replaced with another better one

The beautiful new computer

Quickly becoming obsolete

Things end.

People last.

So maybe that’s why God puts patience first on the list

A reminder

That in the end when all else fades

Only the Imago Dei remain

Set aside the list

Be present in this moment

This holy moment that will not come again

Look at the cashier in the eye

Smile when the line is long and you have somewhere else to be

For that cashier is someone’s daughter or someone’s mother

And she is more important than all the items in your cart

Invite the young man in a hurry to go before you in line

Walk as slowly as your mom’s knees allow

Sit in companionable quiet with your dad

And listen to him talk about the perfect tomato

Even if you don’t like tomatoes

For love is patient first

There is no room for love without it

No space to love without first the setting aside of self

For patience is prerequisite to love

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