…………….my parish priest mentioned that the opposite of patience is resentment, and then he went on to talk about bearing wrongs patiently.
When I first read the above statement, I thought “the opposite of patience is impatience”.
But thinking about the reason of impatience, yes, it definitely includes resentment, or at least annoyance.
Many times we are annoyed by other’s carelessness, ignorance, incompetence, indifference, irresponsibility, thoughtlessness, self-centeredness, or any other irritating behaviors. And we react with our impatience or resentment.
This impatient reaction could actually result from our own self-centeredness or ego. The other person failed to meet *my *expectation, therefore, I am upset.
Here is a story you may or may not have heard before; it is from a book I am currently translating from English into Chinese:
Stephen Covey in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” shares an experience that he once had while traveling on the New York subway. Imagine you are riding the subway early one morning, and everybody appears to be comfortable － people are drinking their coffee, reading their newspapers and magazines, working on their laptops, talking on their cell phones. Everything is normal and peaceful. At each station, a few people get off, a few people get on, everything is calm and sedate, until the train stops at a particular station and a man walks onto your train car with his little children. He finds seats for them and then sits down in a reflective mood. While he is in deep meditation, the children begin to run up and own the aisle, screaming and shouting, running all over the train car.
How do you feel? Are you mad at the man? Why are you mad? You are perhaps thinking, this man should take care of his children in public. If he does not know how to take care of children, why did he have them in the first place? Are you mad at the children for making so much noise? Spoiled kids! You might think. You notice there is no mother. Now you might be thinking, I bet the mother left his man with these undisciplined children. See yourself going up to this irresponsible father and confronting him, saying, “Excuse me, sir, would you mind tending to your children? They’re being so disruptive, and I think everybody is getting a little upset.” The man looks up at you and says, “Two hours ago these children lost their mother in the hospital. She just died, and ever since then I have been trying to explain to them the death of their mother, and their only reaction is this.”
Now how do you feel? The children are still jumping up and down, screaming and shouting. But now you feel terrible. You feel guilty. You feel sorry for the man, you feel sorry for the children, and you feel bad about their mother. You might even feel upset with yourself for feeling negatively about the father and his children.
In this story, the man was annoyed, got impatient, and expressed his resentment without knowing what that poor father was going through. The morale of the story taught us to be patient and understanding – do not judge.
When our hearts are more compassionate, it is easier to be tolerant and we may better refrain ourselves. Gossip is a further expression of our impatience, disagreement, disapproval or resentment. We all have areas to work on. Realization is a good first step. Thanks for bringing up the topic so we may all give some reflection on it.