Word of the Week: Patience
A reading from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Lecture on Education
Adopt the pace of Nature. Her secret is patience. Do you know how the naturalist learns all the secrets of the forest, of plants, of birds, of beasts, of reptiles, of fishes, of the rivers and the sea? When he goes into the woods the birds fly before him and he finds none; when he goes to the river-bank, the fish and the reptile swim away and leave him alone. His secret is patience; he sits down, and sits still; he is a statue; he is a log.
These creatures have no value for their time, and he must put as low a rate on his. By dint of obstinate sitting still, reptile, fish, bird, and beast, which all wish to return to their haunts, begin to return. He sits still; if they approach, he remains passive as the stone he sits upon. They lose their fear. They have curiosity too about him. By and by the curiosity masters the fear, and they come swimming, creeping and flying towards him; and as he is still immovable, they not only resume their haunts and their ordinary labors and manners, show themselves to him in their work-day trim, but also volunteer some degree of advances towards fellowship and good understanding with a biped who behaves so civilly and well.
Can you not baffle the impatience and passion of the child by your tranquility? Can you not wait for him, as Nature and Providence do? Can you not keep for his mind and ways, for his secret, the same curiosity you give to the squirrel, snake, rabbit, and the sheldrake and the deer? He has a secret; wonderful methods in him; he is,—every child,—a new style of man; give him time and opportunity. Talk of Columbus and Newton!
I tell you the child just born in yonder hovel is the beginning of a revolution as great as theirs. But you must have the believing and prophetic eye. Have the self-command you wish to inspire. Your teaching and discipline must have the reserve and taciturnity of Nature. Teach them to hold their tongues by holding your own. Say little; do not snarl; do not chide; but govern by the eye. See what they need, and that the right thing is done.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). The Complete Works. 1904.
Vol. X. Lectures and Biographical Sketches
Word of the Week: Patience
I think one of my life lessons is to learn to be patient.
I came slowly to this understanding in my mid-thirties. My parents passed away within a couple of years of each other from terminal diagnoses of cancer. I was desperate to know the answer to how much time we had together? At the same time, I had a two-year-old son who had never slept through the night. I would be up at night with him desperate, again, to know when he would finally sleep through the night. I was positive that if I only knew the answer to these unknowable questions I would feel better.
Slowly, over the time of my parent’s individual illnesses and my son’s sleepless nights, I learned to accept the days and nights ahead with fortitude, grace, and love. It was not for me to know, I had to learn to be patient and trust in God.
I have had innumerable opportunities to learn the lesson of patience since that time. In today’s world with all that is happening, I am constantly remembering the lessons of patience. Personally, I aspire to have “Kshanti, patience sweet, that naught can ruffle,” but until then, I work on it every day. –Leda, CHT Staff
Word of the Week: Patience – Who has time for that?
In the fast-paced, technology-saturated world we live in today, many resources and services are readily available through the internet. What may have taken a long time in the past is now achieved in mere moments. We have grown accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it. Yet, technology has not been able to speed up everything. It is within this gap that we are living—in a state of increasing impatience—as we seek instant gratification in every facet of life, yet are forced to wait for those beyond our control. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
Words have Power – Patience
We end this week with a reflection from one of our vestry members.
I have been pondering the word “patience.” This is a really tough word for me right now. Watching the violence in our Capitol; hearing prominent people in the government saying, “This time is different!” and yet still seeing the same divisions and denials of responsibility…we are seeing, what words that are false can do. For me, patience is finding a quiet place amongst the chaos to “be still and know that I am God,” and then trying to let my worries go, trusting that God is working their will! Accepting even the hard things as the will of God, and being open to learning the lessons that hard things can teach us. I pray that I will have the strength to make hard choices, and can find the voice to speak the truth in all things. -Gayle, Vestry Member