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patience is a virtue…

As many of you know, I started a nonprofit last year.  It’s been an incredible learning experience.  It’s taken lots of time, lots of work and lots of patience.

You know we live in a society of instant gratification.  You want to watch a movie, pull one up and stream it from Netflix.  You need a meal, visit your local fast food establishment.  You want to chat with someone, send a quick text message.  You need to find out how often Old Faithful erupts while standing in her glorious presence, just Google it from your phone.  Instant access 24/7.

But sometimes, instant just isn’t possible.  It’s not possible when you are sick and just have to let the crud run its course.  It’s not possible when you want to make that big purchase and yet you must save the money first.  It’s not possible when trying to get your child to go to bed at night or take a bath or eat their veggies… or really anything else from what I understand and have witnessed.  And it’s not possible when starting a nonprofit either.

While waiting, we become frustrated.  At least I know I do.  I want it to happen now.  I want to help everyone now.  I want to watch that movie now.  I want to buy my farm now.  I’m totally guilty of this need for instant gratification.

However, I’m thankful for things that make us wait.  Illness, a big purchase, building a nonprofit from scratch.  You see, those things give such a gift.  A gift that I fail miserably at recognizing on most occasions.  It’s the gift of patience, really it’s the gift of seeing how our patience has such sweet resolve.

For example, as a young girl I dreamed of having a horse.  It was the only thing I really wanted.  I saved money, my parents saved money, they scrutinized budget and bills, I dreamed and planned… but it just wasn’t meant to be.  It didn’t happen.  As a dream that began when I was around 10, it wouldn’t come to fruition until I was almost 34 years old.  All those years waiting, saving money, planning, building a career and life that really in the end would better prepare me for having such an incredible creature in my life, it was those years that created a fervent patience inside me.  But it was also the build up of those years that made the day such a joy when the dream finally became a reality.  I appreciate it more, I love it more, I am deeply satisfied.

It’s a satisfaction and a joy that doesn’t come from the luxury of Netflix or an iPhone.  It’s something that can only come with time and the knowledge that you’ve worked hard, put forth effort, and made something happen.

I liken this to my relationship with God.  Often I want Him to answer a prayer now.  I need Him to do something now.  I expect Him to give a blessing now.  But it doesn’t work that way.  Patience.  When He doesn’t answer right away. Patience. When you are waiting for Him to do His will. Patience.  And it can be frustrating.  We only see the details of everyday, not the entirety of our lives and the beautiful and amazing big picture that is being painted.  He does, He’s got it figured out already.  And He has the best plan that has the sweetest of resolutions we could ever experience.  We just have to have patience.

Patience is defined as “the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”  We are to be patient and endure the delays, the trouble, the suffering, the daily details that can be so discouraging.  But after all of that, we are given our gift, our sweet resolve.  That moment that will satisfy us and bring joy to us in a way that no other thing can.  I’m still learning how to be patient, much like I’m learning all about nonprofits and how things don’t just happen overnight.  Patience.  It’s a virtue.

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