love is patient

Several weeks ago, Ann V. wrote a post on love that stuck in my heart, her thoughts on patience in particular:

There are few emergencies.

My sister tells me often. So then why that pitch to the parenting voice? Emergencies are wildfires, screeching sirens, and gaping wounds. In everyday life, we rarely experience emergencies. Then why do we need to holler, fly, rush off? As Simone Weil writes, “Waiting patiently…is the foundation of the spiritual life.”

Really, what catastrophe will befall if we slip into church 5 minutes late or dinner is on the table 15 minutes after six? Sure, it’s time to be in the car and junior can’t find his other shoe. Or the soup needs seasoning and toddler wraps like vine up a parental leg. Take a deep breath. This really isn’t an emergency. We can go slow.

Now is good.
Now is not an emergency to rip through, but a moment to embrace with gratitude.

[read the whole post]

How many times has that thought whispered in my ear, calming my frenzied heart, stopping a flow of frustrated speech: There are few emergencies.

Is this an emergency?

Baby cries, high-pitched, hysterical. Two year old is pulling toys out, right and left. Oven’s timer is beeping, and casserole is now beginning to overcook. Shards of broken glass demand my immediate attention. Clean laundry is spilling over the dining room table’s edge. Dust bunnies are everywhere I look. And I’m so tired.

I’m about to snap.

And then those words.

I realize no, there is no emergency. No, no need for anger, frustration, any of the above.

This is a real-life moment, the kind my life is made of.

The kind my children’s lives are made of. Do I want to shape it, define it, with my lack of patience?

This is not an emergency.

Quietly shush the babe. Wrap him tighter, whisper love.

Turn a blind eye, for now, to the “one toy at a time” rule. Pick up can come later.

Dinner may not be fit for the King of England, but the king of this house will appreciate it and be blessed, no matter the extra time in the oven.

And the rest, well, it’s never ending. How could that possibly constitute an emergency?

And then, a miracle:

That moment is transformed. A small victory, a small miracle. But to me, right then, grace I can almost feel.

10 Comments love is patient

  1. Randi

    This is a great post Danica! It’s something I really needed to hear and I appreciate your honesty. Sometimes I think I’m the only one experiencing those frustrations and I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one and that I can realize these things that seems so urgent are not emergencies. Thanks again! :)

  2. andrea

    thank you for this nudging… just last night i was barking out orders to each of my 4 children. i felt like a drill sargent telling them to “stop this! didn’t you hear me? put that where it belongs! why aren’t you obeying me? why is this still here?…” and i felt so unhappy inside. and then it dawned on me that i needed to apologize b/c i sounded so yucky in my tone – of course the kids could hear it too! so when i humbly approached them all and tell them how sorry momma is for yelling yelling yelling all night, my #2 girl says, “but momma that’s what all mommies do when you’re frustrated and we aren’t listening to you!” (and i know most mommies do, and there’s a time for raising my voice – but she needs to learn from me that her momma doesnt’t HAVE to yell…not everything is an emergency!)
    my continual lesson to learn, for sure!

  3. Gwen

    Wow…why do we hurry so? My theme of this year should be as you say: Is this an emergency? Thank you and God bless.


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