I am not gifted with patience, nor have I prayed to have this gift. I know all too well that if I did ask, the Holy Spirit will oblige and give me ample opportunities to "acquire" the gift of patience. Fortunately God does not leave me alone in my questionable decisions -- but it's not patience that God helps me out with!

I will not keep calm. I have no patience.A small example -- I have been waiting impatiently for a new bit of technology to arrive here at the A Nun's Life office. I had painstakingly researched it and discerned it. It was supposed to be here weeks ago. It is not here. I have been waiting, without patience.

Now one might say that God is giving me an opportunity for patience -- but I would disagree.

First, I don't believe God is primarily pedagogical, always trying to have a "teaching moment" (though of course, as Jesus showed brilliantly, God is an awesome teacher). I believe God is primarily pastoral, wanting to be with us right there in the moment, closer to us than our very next breath (again, see Jesus). In other words, God is love and leads always with love.

Second, I think God honors our free will, even if that free will is used to make bad decisions ... like not wanting to learn how to be patient! But God doesn't leave us alone either! God finds a way to help out nonetheless.

In my little example, while I did not pray for or acquire patience, I did discover the presence of another gift -- freedom. In this case, it is the freedom to be okay with my impatience, and let it go so I could properly deal with the missing equipment! God helped me out, not by forcing something on me that I didn't want or ask for, but by bringing forth a gift that I was ready for.

That God would do that impresses me to no end. God is pretty awesome.