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Test of Patience Poem: An Elusive Human Virtue

As a poet, therapist, and observer of human behavior, Janis has a keen awareness of what makes people tick and behave the way they do.

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.

— Chinese proverb

Holding onto Patience

A young man is running out of patience as he waits.

A young man is running out of patience as he waits.

Exploring the Virtue of Patience

Almost 10 years ago, I wrote a poem article about impatience and how we need to slow down and breathe in order to be more patient. I addressed our tendencies to move too fast, rush to our destinations, and how having to wait can enrage us. Since then, more refined consumer technologies, like Alexa and Door Dash, allow us to be instantly gratified as we are able to receive whatever we want right away or at least, not having to wait quite as long. It's evident that our ability to be patient and tolerate wait time has decreased even more.

The last two years alone have presented us with the unprecedented challenge of being locked down and confined to our homes due to COVID-19. The limitations of the pandemic have impacted us in ways that have tested our patience and ability to wait as we long to return to recreational activities, social gatherings and "normal" physical interactions that define us as human beings. The pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to a warped sense of what it means to have patience with one another and with things over which we have no control.

Inspired by fellow writer and poet, Brenda Arledge's latest word prompt challenge, I've taken another look at "patience." In this poem article, I approach the word using my muse to explore our internal struggle as human beings attempting to live up to the virtue of being patient. Only the rare earthly person can perfect it as it eludes the most common among us. In the end, we learn patience by trial and error. We eventually come to realize we can take a breather, let go, and have faith that all will eventually work out in its own time.

"Be still, and know that I am God . . ."

Psalm 46:10

"Chasing Patience"

Tests of will stretch us thin
Like used rubber bands we give in
Our ability to hold on wanes with time
No more grip on life's steep climb

Who can reach an apex so high
Earth's lowly ones like you and I
We long for liberty to be free
From the long wait upon Thee

As we wait for neon green lights
Human impulse creates more plight
Tempers flare from zero to ten
Causing us to wait again

If only we could grasp the truth
Virtuous lessons learned in youth
Waiting your turn will get us there
Then everyone else's chance is fair

Impatience stirs like strong wind
Blowing over our own kin
Forgetting to treat each other right
With only selfish needs in sight

If only we could stop and see
To be patient is the key
Since we are not in control
Of what we long for in our soul

Let it go with a little faith
No need for all the fervent haste
Things will happen when they will
So take a breath, wait . . . and be still

JLE 2022

Waiting Patiently

Even a puppy can wait patiently for her owner's return.

Even a puppy can wait patiently for her owner's return.

Patience Eludes Me

"Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!"

Psalm 27:14

© 2022 Janis Leslie Evans

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