The Fruit of Patience
By Z Zoccolante
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” – Galatians 5:22-23
The Bible verse above was one I heard as a kid. Growing up in Hawaii, I’d picture all kinds of tropical fruits in the garden, all these ways in which trees show the world who they are. A mango tree produces mango fruit. A lychee tree, lychee, and so on.
People are the same even though we don’t have branches and fruits. We have words, actions, and behavior that become our character. These things become who we are.
Today’s tiny thought is on Patience.
You might know all the answers to their questions but they may not be ready to hear.
People come to therapy because something is going wrong in their life that they don’t know how to deal with alone. They come for support and to be able to fix something and move on.
I’m sure when my therapist talked to me she created mental file folders for things to address with me. Things like childhood, family dynamics, boundaries, relationships, marriage, anger, etc.
There’s no doubt in my mind that she saw all sorts of things all at once but often she said very little. When she did use her words she was like a ninja with them, cutting to the root, gently presenting information.
You see if she’d come at me saying that I was enmeshed with my parents and that I needed better boundaries and this is the plan, etc., not only would I have shut her out but all of my protection mechanisms would have gone up, because I love my family and they are great and supportive and loving.
Eventually, through the course of a year of therapy, I was able to see that I wanted to have a slightly different relationship with myself and also with my family dynamic, but it was a process that I eased into and had choice around and felt ready.
In the same way, we may see red flags waving in the wind over our friends or loved one’s heads. We may know exactly what is “wrong” with them or what they need to fix or change. But that person might not be ready to hear that. They might not be ready to see that.
I had a client who I could feel that a lot of her addiction issues stemmed from sexual abuse she’d alluded to from her childhood, yet she told me she did not want to talk about that. So you know what I did . . . I let it go. She knows herself and she wasn’t ready to unpack that and I respected that. At some point she may be ready.
We all have a right to deal with things in our life when we are ready and sometimes people aren’t ready. And that’s ok. If we are being hurt or disrespected because of a person’s behavior, we need to take responsibility for leaving or taking care of ourselves.
It can be difficult to think we know exactly what someone else needs. But that’s where patience comes in.
Patience says, You may see from A to Z, but they can only see to B.
Patience says, Let everyone walk their own path. If you offer something and they don’t take it, respect their no.
Patience says, If you see all their red flags maybe you don’t need to point them all out.
Patience says, they will deal with them when they are ready, or they won’t; but it’s their life and their choice.
Patience says, I am here for you if you need me, but I am no better or worse. We are simply on our own journeys.
Patience says, I trust you to walk your own path.
Patience says, I will get my ego out of the way.
Patience says, I will love you from afar if I need to.
Patience says, I will not overwhelm you with what I think I know.
Patience says, I will take responsibility for myself.
Patience says, I know what it feels like to be afraid and I pray for courage for us all.
Patience says, I will respect your journey.
*And check out a new episode of the Throwing Up Rainbows Podcast Season 2 here.