For a few weeks, my mom duties have consisted of calling my son once a day to check on his progress and remind him, lest he should forget, that Mom loves him. Just a few short hours from now I will resume my more regular mom duties of getting him dressed and ready for the day, spending time on the playground, cuddling on the couch, getting and giving lots of big hugs, and singing to him every night. I will also resume being exasperated with the messes he leaves in his wake, becoming frustrated when I have to dangle the threat of consequences over his head to get him to follow my instructions, losing patience when he is moving slowly and I am wanting to leave quickly, and a host of other moments ranging from mild annoyance to flat out anger.
Part of me wishes that he was always compliant and I never had cause to lose patience. But that, I think, is the reactive rather than reflective part of me. The reflective part has discovered that the people I love who sometimes try my patience, like my son, have much to teach me. They help me see where I too much want my own way, where I put energy into needing to be right rather than into doing the right thing. They teach me that patience is a virtue, the particular virtue of acceptance: of others, of myself, and of situations both beyond and within my control. It is the virtue of clear vision, really. I too often lack this virtue, and so God in his wisdom blesses me with people and situations that will help me see both my lack and how to fill it. I am grateful to these, my greatest teachers; they help me strive to be better.