Wednesday, September 19, 2007


by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Patience, hard thing! the hard thing but to pray,
But bid for, Patience is! Patience who asks
Wants war, wants wounds; weary his times, his tasks;
To do without, take tosses, and obey.
Rare patience roots in these, and, these away,
Nowhere. Natural heart's ivy, Patience masks
Our ruins of wrecked past purpose. There she basks
Purple eyes and seas of liquid leaves all day.

We hear our hearts grate on themselves: it kills
To bruise them dearer. Yet the rebellious wills
Of us we do bid God bend to him even so.
And where is he who more and more distils
Delicious kindness? -- He is patient. Patience fills
His crisp combs, and that comes those ways we know.

* * *

Have you ever prayed for patience? It's that scary thing everyone wants and no one wants to pray for. Because when you do, God always sends you just those things that try the little patience you've got. If patience isn't found in suffering, it's found "nowhere." I like the image of patience as ivy, growing over the ruins of what we wanted and making them more beautiful.

It kills us to ask for more suffering than we already have, but since we long God to bend our wills to him, we ask for it all the same. And God, of course, is patient; a good thing too, considering how much we try His patience.


Ibid said...

there was a magnet that used to be on our refrigerator (I'm not sure if its still there) that said "God, give me patience, and I want it RIGHT NOW!"

Just thought I'd share.

Sheila said...

"Oh, yeah, patience. How long is that gonna take?"

--from Dr. Demento