Life teaches us that acquiring certain virtues will improve our life; we may develop a sincere desire to be more patient or tolerant; we may seek and pray for these attributes. But the only way to acquire any desirable trait is through encountering people who cause us contention and frustration. Learning patience requires experiencing situations that produce impatience–and slowly learning to react differently; learning tolerance requires being around people that bother us and slowly learning to accept the person but retaining the freedom to disagree with the action.
Patience is not a problem as long as we get what we want when we want it. Likewise, it’s not hard to be tolerant as long as others are loving, agree with us, appreciate us, or don’t try to force their ideas and values on us. The challenges start when we find people that irritate us, make us fearful, or “push our buttons.” These are our true teachers—they provide our opportunities to learn and practice patience and tolerance. God, or the universe, has an endless supply of these teachers; they will continue to appear until we learn the lesson. It’s just easier on us if we can learn with the first few instructors. We’ve made real progress when we view these people as teachers instead a hindrance in that moment when they are challenging us.
Prayer: God, grant me the maturity to see a teacher in any irritating, angry, or contentious person that I encounter today; help me pause, be centered, and respond to any conflict with peace, poise, and love. Open my mind and heal my emotions so I take the positive lessons from all people
Take three relaxing breaths; ask your inner spirit to guide your meditation; reflect on the content, pausing for a few minutes in silence.