In this moment of forced cloister, I also thought about how important it would be to exercise an old virtue that has fallen into disuse.
The world should have a lot of patience, every day and for everything. Having patience is worthwhile, and helps us to live better even if we no longer recognize any value in this virtue, which is also essential in human relationships, as in the effectiveness of private and public action. Indeed, we consider it a waste of time and anticipation of behaviors that we cannot afford.
We live in the era of high speed, of “all and now”, of “disposable”: our clocks are always synchronized on arrival deadlines, commitments to be respected, programs to be completed.
And instead, patience requires dilation of the present, an extension of it, a pause in the incessant becoming. You need to pause, to make a truce to be patient. In fact, it is just the patience, its long stride, far from the anxiety of presentism, which allows us to wait for the right moment, the maturation of things and not their evaporation, even before focusing on them.
The courtship of a woman is patient, and cannot be played in the instant of an exchange of text messages or messages on social media. The wait for the recognition of one’s own value at work is patient: on the contrary, excessive haste, for a place on the hierarchical scale and for a higher salary, leads to the vice of careerism. And it requires patience, sometimes tiring and even frustrating, the search for what unites us compared to what divides us. Patience is what most resembles the process that nature uses in its creations. Just think of the bees, to their patience for essential community work: in a single day a single hive visits 225 thousand flowers, with a path equal to four times around the planet. All the activity of the bees, the wonderful chain of roles and functions, is done in the name of patience.
The eclipse of patience is also due to the bad interpretation of its function. It is often confused with inertia, with a downward compromise. Or worse, it is categorized as a defeat, a passive surrender in the face of the inevitability of the facts. On the contrary, impatience, perhaps accompanied by anger, becomes a sign of strength, resolve, and determination of character. A real misunderstanding, and a reversal of paradigms. With deadly effects, for example, in relations with our neighbors. We have become a people of citizens who trigger a brawl of condominium every half hour, moved and inspired precisely by that loss of patience that makes us feel strong, where instead we have all become more vulnerable.
In politics, it is impossible to ignore patience, in the times and in the weaving necessary to make consensus coincide with choices that are not always popular. But sooner or later, when you are in too much of a hurry, you run into the need to show balance and to seek new syntheses, first of all with your opponents.
During the Second World War, British public opinion trampled, with enormous discontent, to put an end to “bloody costs” to a bloody conflict: the British government reacted with a house-to-house campaign, inspired precisely by the exercise of patience. The slogan was this: Keep calm and carry on, stay calm and carry on.
Yes, stay calm, be patient: but how do you do when the earth trembles under your feet and you feel, with fear, that time passes? Here more than pedagogical exercise can help religion, the sense of the transcendent with which patience has always been well cataloged. In the Buddhist religion, for example, patience is considered one of the six essential practices for being a good disciple and cultivated with care through meditation. In a book, the Dalai Lama writes: “Any positive action can be destroyed by a single outburst of anger, by a single gesture of impatience”. In the Bible, however, the patriarch Job catalogs patience as a gift from the Holy Spirit. And St. Paul warns: «Patience leads to hope. But we need to accompany her to humility and reflection “.
Therefore, to be patient, take the necessary time, take a breath before speaking, listen and not only communicate in one way.
They are simple exercises, perfect to do during the holidays to take advantage of summer and the right season to rediscover the value of patience. They are also good for facing the forced enclosure needed to save one’s life and that of others.