Why is patience a virtue?

My entire life I have been told that patience is a virtue. I’m sure you have too.

This word has come up with such alarming consistency this week that I had no choice but to dive deeper and make it the Weekly Word.

Patience is a balm that I have spread on myself for years. This is why I was so startled when I learned that the Latin origin of the word is ‘suffering’.

I thought about the patience that I exercise daily in my own life and the patients I see in the hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes.

We’re all doing the same thing: Waiting. Waiting to heal. Waiting to feel better. Waiting to get what we want.

Ultimately, waiting for things to be different than they are right now.

Suddenly it became clear to me why patience is rooted in suffering.

Patience is anxiety’s ‘virtuous’ cousin.

Patience is what we use to pacify our strong desire to rush into the future and get past the undesirable now as quickly as possible. It’s similar to anxiety, just dressed in nicer, more socially acceptable clothes.

The two play off of each other at every turn. Patience is the belief that the future will be better, anxiety is the fear that it won’t.

I encourage you to stop yourself the next time you hear the familiar phrase run through your mind patience is a virtue.

Replace it with ‘presence’.

Don’t be patient.

Be present instead.

Because I think presence is the most virtuous quality of all.