It is very quiet. There is the white noise, its variations almost indistinguishable, which I know to be produced by the refrigerator behind me and the washing machine and dryer closeted in the laundry room beyond the kitchen wall. The trees on the fencerow, cedar and perhaps pine, are waving noticeably outside the window beside me, but I can’t hear the wind. It was blowing a stout breeze when I went walking earlier this morning, rippling the surface of the pond from the south-west across until it hit the vast tracts of weeds that are barely submerged in the shallow water out from the banks; it wasn’t blowing hard enough to push the little waves through and all the way to the edge.
I am sitting in the kitchen in the quiet house, alone, thinking about patience. Someone just left, obviously off-kilter, seeming so frustratingly set on perpetuating their own sense of despair and rejection. However, at the moment, I’m not feeling frustrated.
I said I have been thinking about patience, but really, I’ve been feeling patience. This is what it means to be present for someone who is emotionally out of control: patience. It becomes something tangible, in the deep breaths and the self-calming, the recalibrating of my own stress level.
And while I spent a whole long paragraph describing my environment, a short one describing another disregulated person, and have left a few short lines for a description of my subject, I hope you realize that all of these things are a description of this thing: the quiet of the house, the autumn day, they are an expression of God (love is patient), His own patience welling up to meet me, large enough to receive my fear, my pain, my despair, my rejection; responding rather than reacting, reflecting back love—love—love—love. He is firm, I cannot shake Him with my own desperation; He takes it, absorbs it, and reflects back a peace and a joy true and unwavering. This is patience, and in receiving, I am enabled to turn to another and give.