You know the thing about patience is the more you ask for it, the more your patience is tested. Whenever we are going through a challenging stage, growth spurt, or bad day I often find myself praying for patience. But the thing is, it always seems to get harder rather than easier. Is it just me? That’s the thing about patience that I don’t like. Trying to get more inevitably drains what little I have.
In fact, for an entire year I completely eradicated the word patience from my vocabulary. I refused to use it. I was so frustrated with how much harder it felt when I tried to improve my patience that I just gave up on the quality all together. I worked on other aspects of parenting, such as understanding my child’s needs, instead of asking for patience. I really enjoyed that year. I felt like I made noticeable improvements in my parenting. But after a while I came to terms with patience.
That’s when I found the thing about patience that makes sense to me. The thing I actually like about patience. Now it’s not a taboo word in my vocabulary. It’s an attribute I actually want to possess. Want to know what the thing I like is? I thought so.
Here’s the thing about patience I actually like: Patience is a muscle. Pretty simple. The more you exercise your muscles, the stronger they get. It’s hurts a bit to make your muscles stronger, but even in the soreness that follows, you are able to lift more the next day. The more consistently you exercise your muscles the stronger they get and they stay strong. But when you stop exercising, you lose that strength and have to start again, at a weaker state than you remember being, and work up to your ideal again.
When Brent started medical school, I was shocked at how hard it was for me to manage our house and kids while he studied SO MUCH. I thought it had been hard when he worked and went to school, but this was a whole new animal. It look me about 18 months, but I was finally feeling like I had a handle on the daily grind. We were in a good groove for a while. Then the semester ended and we had Brent with us full time during his break. We traveled together as a family and spent a lot of quality time together. Then we returned home and I had my first day home with the kids without Brent. It was awful! I was so impatient with everything. It was shocking how hard the day was. The last time I had been in our home taking care of everything while Brent was at school had been a really good day. And now, a couple months later, the same scenario was nothing short of disastrous.
I’ve had to start again building my patience muscle. We’ve had good days and rough days but we’re steadily climbing uphill. Even with beginning our homeschool journey with Sammi, managing naps and meal schedules and leaving Brent alone long enough to study I’m more patient than I was that first day back from vacation. And soon enough I’ll be back to where I was the day we had our summertime family picture (below) taken. And then some!