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A time for patience

Welcome to winter on this half of the world. A time of patience. In winter, we wait.

This week, Christians (and non-Christians, too) celebrate the birth of a baby they call a savior. The thing is there's a hitch in that prophecy -- a baby can't do anything. You have to wait for a baby to grow into a savior. Years and years. You have to be patient.

We just passed the winter solstice and the longest night of the year, and I know a lot of people who are happy that we are turning toward the light. But there are a lot of long dark nights before we're even at the next equinox much less the longest day. Maybe then you can get excited about the light but for now, you have to be patient. For now, we wait.

In these times of instant gratification, it takes practice to be patient. So, practice. Be patient with children, as they learn their way toward being their best selves. Help them along with patient tolerance for their inexperience, their ignorance, their curiosity, exuberance and frustration. Be patient with old people, as they learn their way toward a world that changes faster than it used to, whether that is the world they live in or the body they inhabit.

Practice patience with people you encounter when you normally might not: rude drivers, impertinent servers, oblivious teenagers, confused out-of-towners.

And here's another one. Practice patience with yourself. Whatever you are managing, you'll get through it. After all, since there is a time for everything, that means there's a time for impatience. But I'll bet, like me and so many others, you're already pretty good at that. Especially with yourself. So, for now, practice patience. Learn to appreciate the wait. Be patient with your own darkness. The light will return.

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