I've been leading a small faith-sharing group called a Virtue Challenge Team. I volunteered to host the group and therefore got appointed the de facto leader. Not sure I'm qualified to lead a group in discussing and cultivating virtue, but it's been good to get back into a fellowship setting. There are definitely a lot of challenges, mostly revolving around everyone in the group being strangers and at completely different points intellectually, spiritually, and vocationally. With no unifying event to forge a bond (retreat, mission trip, etc), we are revealing bits of ourselves by degrees. Fitting, then, that our first virtue to discuss was patience.
It's a virtue that I struggle with. I'm the person praying, "God give me patience and give it to me now." I've always associated patience with tolerance of a trying situation. But the chapter from DeMarco's The Heart of Virtue that we read had some interesting thoughts on looking at patience in a way that is much more in tune with my own natural inclinations.
"If something appears without fanfare, patience will take the time to find its inner glory. When the moment seems unpromising, patience will discover some surprising benefaction."
I can work with that understanding of patience. It's about a search for the three transcendentals--beauty, goodness, and truth--in the midst of everyday life. Any object, person, event, or situation has some element of these three things. Patience takes the time to find them.
"Patience gives us the flexibility we need so that we can find worthwhile pursuits when other opportunities have been taken from us."
This seems to hold a lot of relevance in my life recently. With my work schedule the way it is, I feel like a lot of opportunities have been taken from me. I haven't had the patience to find other worthwhile pursuits, hobbies, passions, missions. They would bring me fulfillment and reveal the goodness, truth, and beauty in my current situation.
So, while I still lose my temper at the drop of a hat, maybe cultivating patience in this new light will allow me to grow in virtue in a way that seems to be more freeing and less restricting. The next virtue is meekness and I'm not sure I'm ready for that one either.