Pottery is among mankind’s oldest and most enduring crafts. The process itself feels like a work of art, as the expert potter carefully, patiently shapes a lump of clay into a beautiful, useful vessel. While finishing the work takes time and patient effort, the result is clearly worth it. It’s no wonder that pottery making is often used as a metaphor for how our lives are gently molded by the patient hand of God.
But patience is not always a popular virtue today, when almost everything is instantaneous. We eat fast food, photos appear instantly on our smartphones, and we can quickly access almost any information we need. Waiting even a few seconds seems like too long, as we hurry from one app, one website, or one transaction to another. Our time is hardly measured in minutes anymore, but in bits per second—not just fast, but superfast.
This increase in speed has brought many advantages. But it can also lead us to be less than patient with each other and with ourselves.
Patience does not mean suffering while we wait to get what we want—that’s more like impatience! When we are truly patient, we kindly and lovingly allow others the time they need to reach their full potential. We do not resent the fact that progression is a process, and we resist putting undue pressure and unrealistic expectations on others—or on ourselves—knowing that it will only hinder growth and create frustration.
Patience means not despairing when mistakes happen. It means making room for change as we all learn a better way. It means we will sometimes be offended, but we won’t harbor resentment or anger as we work out a solution. Patience inspires us to give people another chance and the benefit of the doubt, just as we hope they will do for us. Patience is the power that comes from hope and confidence that things will, in time, improve.
Even in our fast-paced life, let us allow the Master Potter to do His work. If we are patient, we will see a beautiful result.
- by Don H. Staheli, as broadcast on "Music and the Spoken Word"