This world is so crammed full of busyness. The loud clamor for our time and immediate attention is almost deafening. Instant messages, emails and buzzing cell phones ask for expedited reaction. It sometimes feels like patience and kindness have been relegated to a back burner.
"Don't you have time for me?" This innocent little plea from my child when I was too busy with things which seemed-so-important at the time will always burn in my heart. My response was hurried. Impatient with her need for my attention, I played for a minute and then went on my way. It wasn't enough. The chance to be patient and kind escaped with the moment. How I wish my answer had been better. Not that that other opportunities weren't seized. Sometimes they were and sometimes not. But that one got away.
Two fruits of the spirit identified by St. Paul are patience and kindness. He believed them to be important touchstones marking an authentic relationship with God and each other. This was part of his formula for 'walking the walk' of love. Since this is the case, how we slow down enough to be patient and kind becomes a compelling conundrum. We have to take part in the world and life's demands after all. So, it finally comes down to a matter of keenly sorting out of what is most important in the long-run.
Those who we touch with surprising kindness will ultimately be restored and renewed.
What is important? Allow me to provide some guidance from the perspective of this 68 year old cramudgin. God, family, friends, children and community top the list. Mother Teresa famously told us to go home and love our families. I think if many of us were as fretful, cross, and unyielding at work as we are at home the outcome might not be good. It doesn't take much to be patient and kind. Sometimes we might have to rub out the line drawn in the sand. But patience and kind-heartedness are gentle alternatives which testify to our authentic strength of character. They are gifts which will always be treasured and never forgotten..