If someone asked me if I am a virtuous woman, I would probably say yes (thinking “what is the opposite of that?”). When push comes to shove, though, there are so many virtues that I lack. Today, and a great many other days, at the top of that list would be patience.
Let me back up a little and tell you that my husband has Parkinson’s Disease, and his abilities can change from day to day, but there are usually things he needs help with. He can’t shave himself, so I take care of that with an electric shaver, and I remember that I need to allow time for that, particularly when we’re going out. He sometimes can’t button his shirt, so usually he wears a pullover or turtleneck, but often he puts on his own socks and shoes. He can’t manage his outdoor jacket, sometimes his belt gives him trouble, etc. Because what he can and can’t do changes from day to day, I’m bad at remembering what is going to need doing by me.
Today we had appointments to get haircuts, and I knew we had to leave our place at 10:50 to get to the salon on time. I had just put the electric toothbrush in my mouth and turned it on when I noticed Ricardo beside the bathroom door, his dress shirt half on, waiting for me to notice and help him. I said I would, after I was through at the sink. I said it impatiently. Later, I was rushing to put some makeup on and saw him sitting in the living room and figured that he was ready–until I noticed his bare feet. Pulling and tugging to get his socks on, I made some impatient comments about other men wearing short socks nowadays, and hadn’t he said he would try that? I got his feet into his shoes and proceeded to criticize the way he had dusted them off, grabbing a towel impatiently to dust them myself.
You get the picture. I know that when I’m stressed I am much more likely to lack patience. If I’m getting dinner ready for company, if there’s a time pressure, if I’m upset about something, Ricardo’s needs have a hard time competing against my desire to get things done, and get them done my way.
And that’s where patience and humility meet up. Why should I feel that my needs come first? Why should I be the one to decide in what order things get done? Usually, there is no reason except my feeling that my way is the best way.
And I have every reason to turn that around. I want to treat Ricardo as I would treat Jesus. His needs, his desires should come first. I must learn to see myself as servant, not as someone who is being interrupted. I must become patient and humble.
And why, reader, am I telling you this? Because I want to admit these faults publicly and hold myself accountable. This blog is titled ‘Learning to Let Go’, and these faults need to be let go.