Love is patient.
Love suffers long.
Why is that the first definitive entry in the famed “Love Chapter” of Scripture?
Perhaps because, above all, love must be willing to wait on others.
But not just wait as one would while standing in line at the grocery checkout. True, loving patience is willing to suffer as it waits to have its own needs met, even when they seem so very long in coming. If, indeed, they ever do come. Because the reality is, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes our expectations go unmet. Sometimes our needs remain. Sometimes the hurts linger and the trials persist.
It’s with these thoughts that I ponder the many facets of “patience,” a word which, by the way, is slow in coming (no pun intended) to yours truly. As much as I wish it were different, patience is a virtue that has been disinclined to cultivate itself quickly in my life. Much to my dismay, I generally do not bear up under interruptions or delays without annoyance or frustration. Nor do I naturally exude forbearance when trials come my way.
And yet, I can’t help but want to be a person of patience, so today I am setting my mind upon what I believe it means to fulfill this first definition of a perfect love. And perhaps, as I ponder, I will grasp a bit more of God’s love in my life – pulling me toward and anchoring me more firmly in a patient love that waits in the now with the hope of eternity.
Lives the moment of less than as if it were more than, consistently trusting God for the enough.
Exists in this perfectly imperfect moment of life.
Welcomes the wonder in the place where it seems lacking, resolved to find the awe in the awful.
Seeks the Giver in the gift it never chose.
Embraces life beyond the shadow of the cross while firmly seated in the darkness of the ninth hour.
Shows up haggard and lame at the temple gates, begging for release, yet content to listen to the praise songs of others.
Stays put. Lingering and longing, yet still there – prepared for the miracle of release that comes in unexpected ways.
Looks for the hidden, straining to see beyond the veneer of a shiny surface to note the nitty-gritty of an aching heart beneath the facade of an altogether all-together.
Sees the world as soul-weary and lost despite the fluidity of motion that tempts us to believe otherwise.
Embraces the thorns with the flowers and bleeds alongside the beauty of its fragrant bouquet.
Is willing to camp out in the wilderness, determined to endure the stillness of a moment and not wish it away.
Finds the gift hidden in the now and trusts the Giver who extends within and beyond.
Does not begrudge the good fortune of others, but looks to add to it.
Bestows blessings upon those whom it encounters in this very moment of living the moments with gratitude for it all.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)