Letters to Jesus (Contrary Spiritual Notions) - 15
I’ve come to realize something about myself that has become an unfathomed disturbance over a very long time. As precise a word as I can think of to describe it is impatience. Yet it’s not the impatience one usually thinks of when they’re considering the general lack of patience for an expected outcome. I have consciously worked on this type of impatience with varying degrees of successand failure over the years. This type of patience deals with the ability to wait for an outcome with passive resignation; to minimize the agitation of expectation. Cultivating this kind of patience is a good thing, but it’s not the patience of this type that I’ve discerned lurking deeply within me.
The lack of patience I’m concerned with is harder to articulate and much more subtle. It has to do with brushing people aside and doing it even “kindly,” tactfully, and/or diplomatically – when they do not know or act equally or better than I am able to know or act in a given situation. It’s an impatience of mental intolerancemasquerading as a tolerance which says, “OK, that’s fine. Now let me do it.” There is, in me, an ingrained custom of doing exactly that – and not only doing it but reserving silently the mental attitude that that’s what I can always do in order to get things done the way I think they should be. In other words, nobody can do certain things better than I can and, while it’s not nice to say so or act so, my impatience with others who think so leads me to devise subtle tactics that put me first. The people I don’t brush aside in this way are the people whom I know can do certain things better than me or who, I am sure, know more than me. With these people it’s amazing how attentive and patient I can be.
Now, if I look to You I see someone who not only knew more and could do better than anyone else but brushed no one aside even though there seems to have been times of mild exasperation. If Your life showed us how to live, should I not do likewise? What’s ironic is that I become very impatient with my lack of progress in remedying this kind of impatience in myself. It is exasperating!