Karen Fleming

For those of you who are married and have used this verse from the Bible read at your wedding, I Corinthians 13:4, I wonder if you considered that the virtues read applied to more than the person you were marrying. "Love is Patient, love is Kind,” etc. etc.

Webster's Dictionary says, "Patience is calm endurance, calmly tolerating delay...persevering."

In our world today, it is difficult to have patience: Enduring long lines of traffic and construction delays (“I need to get home!”); long grocery lines (“My ice cream will probably turn to soup.”); making allowances for the differently abled (“That woman with the walker is moving so slowly… I need to pick up the kids at daycare!”); and on and on.

Today's technology promises to enhance our life. But does it? With my lack of technology savvy, I want to ask Siri. “Do you enhance or frustrate my life?”

Is it too much trouble to use the telephone or go to the library, or take the time to visit someone and listen to what they have to say?

I learned patience in recent years, and I don't mind admitting it took a while to sink in. In 1989, I spent much of that summer and fall plus the entire month of November caring for my dying mother who lived 300 miles away. Then in May and June of 2002, I drove back and forth to Iowa to help care for my dying brother, taking the night shift.

This year, my husband needed much care while the doctors tried to figure out why he had so much pain in his knee that prevented him from putting any weight on the leg. From March through June, he went through many tests, three ER trips, two hospitalizations, surgery; then 24 days of TCU care, three weeks of home care and, finally, the last weeks of physical therapy. He is finally recovering from his severe fracture of the patella. Did I mention all the patience I had to muster up when I was frequently the target of his misery?

I couldn’t help thinking of poor Job in the Old Testament. After extreme trials of loss and pain, in Chapter 6 verse 11, Job asks God: "What strength have I that I should endure, and what is my limit that I should be patient?" A good question then; a good question, meditation and lesson now.