One of the blogs I follow spoke on long-suffering last week. It asked that we all think about what it means to be long-suffering. Then my Bishop spoke about it in testimony meeting. Think this means something? (Maybe it just means he also reads Christian HomeKeeper, but somehow I doubt it…)
I think the most profound thing I’ve ever heard about "long-suffering" was from my Bishop’s mouth. He said even the word itself seems unpleasant. I mean seriously? He’s right. Do I want to be long-suffering? Heck to the no! Suffering is bad enough and I sure don’t want to endure something awful for a long time. I’m pretty sure that I am in good company with about six billion other people on this planet. (OK, so the good people at Christian HomeKeeper said the same sort of thing. Why? BECAUSE IT IS TRUE!)
Unfortunately, that is just not how life works. At least, not for me. There are times when life is great, sure. But we all go through times when life is nothing but major suck-a-tude. It is how we deal with major suck-a-tude that makes the difference.
Unsurprisingly, linked right in with long-suffering is patience. A word both Christian HomeKeeper and my Bishop used. Yikes. Let’s just say that I can remember the nun at Catholic School reciting her proverb: Patience is a virtue. Cherish it if you have it. Seldom in women, never in men.
Yeah I’m definitely not in the "seldom" category of women mentioned there.
Let’s just say I know long and I know suffering. If you want only one painful example. Kiddie Cancer. Yeah. Like you were surprised I brought THAT up. When your kid gets diagnosed with cancer it is not something that is going to go away with a simple round of antibiotics and a tub of ice cream. It’s long. It’s most definitely suffering. And then it gets longer. And there’s even more suffering. And you are tired. And most of all, you are impatient because life is a whole lot of hurry up and wait.
So yeah, I know of which I speak. And trust me, there are times when I just want to say: ENOUGH!!!!! I suppose we all have our Abrahamic Test, as my Bishop likes to say. Boy do I know he’s right. At least in my case. So here’s some interesting questions from Christian HomeKeeper about patience/long-suffering to get my juices flowing and direct my thoughts.
God has worked in my life regarding patience and long-suffering in these ways – I have managed to endure, without losing my mind, long wait periods. I’ve learned that often these long periods go by faster then one might expect. I thought my 18th birthday would NEVER come when I wanted to get baptised. I spent the many months waiting learning and growing. The good thing is that when I finally got to the waters of baptism, I KNEW it was what I wanted. I’d fought against people questioning me. I’d survived flack from my parents. knew about a thousand times more about the Church I was joining then when I first decided to join it nine months previously. I stood there thinking, "Finally! This day has come!" Immediately after that, I thought, "Wow, it really wasn’t that long!" That’s just one example that has repeated itself over and over in my life. While going through the trial, it can seem like time is creeping by until I stop and look back and realize… time has quite literally flown.
The hardest part of showing long-suffering is – Not letting it wear me down so everyone else thinks I’m a sad-sack. Trust me. I struggle with this. I have a real hard time being the "strong one". Ok, so people tell me all the time that I’m strong. But I feel like I’m losing it and that I’m really weak and barely able to stand. I am pretty sure (going back to the last question) that I really can’t stand about 90% of the time and like in Footprints in the Sand, the Lord is carrying me. I thank him all the time. Seriously, if you look behind me there’s only one set of footprints for as far as the eyes can see. Those footprints aren’t mine. He’s carried me. Unfortunately, I find it hard not to whine about it in his ear. I’m working on that. It goes back ot the whole not coming of like a sad-sack.
The most rewarding part of showing long-suffering is – Um… this one, I don’t know. I suppose getting to the end of the trial and going ‘Huzzah it’s over." And then finding what I learned from it. And then finding the words to share what I learned from it. I think something that is hard when you are going through a trial is the feelings of loneliness. I hate for people to feel alone. Really, it’s so silly when you think about it. For example, I’m not the first woman or the last woman to have extremely difficult and dangerous pregnancies. Regardless of this fact, I sure felt like the only one when going through mine. Seeing people who could make it through trials inspires me. I sure don’t think I’ll inspire anyone, but the thought that I might help someone make it another day does make me feel like at least my trial was worth it. I don’t think that makes sense. But it does in my head. I guess what I"m trying to say is I just really want to help people, so if I can because of my long-suffering Abrahamic Test, yay!
The one kind situation that I have the most trouble showing long-suffering in is – The one I’m currently in now. It’s gone on for just so many years. I think I used to be better at it. Now i’m just tired. I don’t’ even want to get into it. In fact, Bishop, give me a calling and make me busy. So I don’t have to think about it. See, I’m not kidding. The current one is hard. It just happens to be one thing I have promised to never blog about. Sorry people. Never fear, it has gone in my personal journal. A lot. So I’m working through my issues like a good little person wanting to have some semblance of decent mental health.
I see how kindness goes hand in hand with long-suffering because – Kindness is brought about from love. Love really can make it easier to bear things. Be that kindness given to you that brightens your day or kindness you give to others while bearing your own hefty load. Once, when Caramon was on one of his eternal hospital stays, someone rang me and offered to visit and bring me food and a magazine. People didn’t really call me a whole lot then. I get that they just didn’t know what to say. That is fine. A visit was wonderful and made me feel like the world hadn’t forgotten about me. Best of all I got something that wasn’t KFC or Hospital Cafeteria as a special bonus. It was just a salad from McDonald’s which sounds like it’s just really a dumb thing to get excited about, but after 3 weeks in the hospital with Caramon with only KFC and Cafeteria food… it was like a four star meal. It really made my day. Another time, a young boy had surgery and his family lived so far away they could not get off work and come to visit him. So Caramon and I went up to this boy’s room and played games with him. It was late, he’d missed dinner, and wanted food. So I went to the parent kitchen and made him a sandwich from my own stuff. Seeing him smile and not be so alone really helped brighten our day in the hospital. Charity really is the pure love of Christ.
I want others to show long-suffering to me when – I am a fool and say something stupid. Really? This is pretty much everyday. Sometimes my brain moves too fast. Sometimes I just don’t know what you are going through. I really hate the idea that what I say might offend people and I know that I just say stupid stuff that causes pain. Please. Forgive me. I really don’t mean to be stupid.
God shows long-suffering to me in these ways – Seriously? This is a question? Can I even begin to count the ways? He loved me enough to send his Son to die for me. He hasn’t yet gotten so sick of me he’s struck me down by lightening or worse. I have probably the best and most patient Bishop on the planet earth (just no one tell him I said that). Seems God somehow sends someone to say just the right thing to me when I need it most.
Ephesians 4:1-4 says – As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called—
This week I will begin to ask God to – I’ve been asking the Lord to help me find the patience to go on one more day. To help me find a brighter attitude. To forgive me for being a real depressed monster last week. (I blame hormones and stress. It was REALLY bad.) To help build my faith that I can strive for the light at the end of the tunnel that I sometimes cannot see. To give me the strength to bear the crosses I’ve been asked to carry.