I'm thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. today.
I'm also thinking about patience. And how these days (like those days three years ago) love is patient.
Most days, I get to patient by first walking down the lane of perspective (this is all too temporary!) and then stopping to marvel at the view that is gratitude (the view is stunning!). I am wealthy beyond what I deserve. Wealthy in love, but also wealthy in terms of running water and heat and access to good food. It takes me less than a few seconds to access water for all of my water-related desires. The time I save from not having to walk to a river or well for my water - I can use it towards patience.
These days, patience means a daily surrender of my own agenda. On a bad day, when there are more tasks than I have arms or mind for, I feel a sort of resentment bubbling up in me. When I investigate, I discover it's a voice saying, "I want to be selfish!" It catches me by surprise. Ohhh. The reason why I feel cranky right now is because I didn't sleep well, it has been a long and hard day at work, there was traffic coming home, Lola won't let me pee in the bathroom by myself, both girls are hungry, I'm hungry but I'm probably not going to be able to eat until later, I'm running around trying to placate, instruct, feed, clean, and in 30 minutes it's going to be bed time. When am I going to be able to sit down? Where is Ken? I want to be selfish!" With that realization, I come face to face with my limitations. And even as that is disheartening, I immediately feel relieved. The closer I am to my limits, the closer I am to God.
Somedays, patience is one more chance. It's tempering a sharp tone. It is one thing at a time. It is not stamping my feet. I don't just love my kids and my husband by gushing at them with hugs and loving words. I love them by holding back the harsh words, and by giving them space when I want to micromanage or scold out of a need to control.
When I practice patience out of love, I find that it sprouts seedlings of other things. Like wisdom. And being able to put down an ego-based want and voicing a vulnerable need.
So on the days we are fortunate, love is patiently sitting together at the end of a long day to look at each other's faces, listening, checking inside ears for ear wax, and practicing wearing each other's hearts.