It's said that patience is a virtue.  I personally think patience is much more than that. It is
absolutely necessary for a peaceful existence. Patience is easy during easy times, but put us
in difficult, stressful situations and patience seems impossible!

As parents, we have to be patient with our kids as they grow and learn. At work, we often must
be patient with our co-workers, and sometimes, even our boss.  In life, we seem to need and
want so much, yet we have to learn patience because, "All things come to those who wait."

But how do we learn to be patient with ourselves? Sometimes this is the hardest form of
patience to develop. Especially when we are grieving.

During my own period of grief I would become so angry with myself when little things would
throw me back into despair again, especially when I thought I was finally getting past that
period in my grief. "Get over it!"  I would shout in my head.  "How long will I keep doing this to
myself? When will I learn to move beyond this period of grief?"

Patience. It has only one requirement. In order to have patience, you must have some amount
of emotional strength. During grief, most of our emotional strength is gone. We feel empty
inside. We don't have the strength for patience, especially for ourselves.

Grief drains emotional strength. It drains it until you're completely empty if you let it. But you
have alternatives that will help you get your emotional strength back.

First, remember that you have the capacity to choose what you think about.  When you're lost
in despairing thoughts, the drain on your emotional strength flows quickly. So, during these
times, try to choose something else to occupy your thoughts, even if for only a little while at a
time. Remember your good friends, read a book, crochet, take a walk and search for different
plants, visit the public library or a museum. If that doesn't work, then for a few moments during
your most depressed times, force yourself to think about mundane things, just to keep your
mind off your grief until your emotional strength can replenish itself somewhat.

I did my share of mundane thinking: I counted the number of holes in a ceiling panel, counting
the number of florets on a head of broccoli, and used a toothbrush to clean the bathroom tiles.
I daydreamed about where the sand from an hour glass comes from, who rolls the little cotton
on the ends of  Q-tips, and what's on the inside of a gourd. Ok, it sounds crazy but it was well
worth it.  ANYTHING to get my mind of my grief, even if for just a few minutes at a time.

Next, remember that God is your strength. It's not your own strength that He builds up, but HIS
strength living within you that can help you through troubling times. HIS strength is sufficient
for you if you remember to rely on Him. He is faithful to meet your needs - even to replenish
your emotional strength so you can learn to be patient with yourself until the worst part of your
grief subsides.

The hardest part of self-patience, is self- acceptance. In the words of St. Francis de Sales,
"Have patience with all things, but first with yourself.  You're a perfectly valuable, creative,
worthwhile person simply because you exist. No amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever
change that."

Losing a loved one creates a great loss in your heart. But it does not diminish your own
personal value. You are so very important - to someone.  Maybe it's your children, your friend,
your father or mother, or maybe it's someone you only know casually.  But you are important.
And you are so very important to God.  That's why you are still here, and that's why He is still
here for you.

Spend some very quiet time with the Lord. Allow yourself the time with Him that you can
actually feel His presence. Tell Him all of your fears, worries and concerns. Allow Him tol bear
your sorrows with you and bring you to that place of healing.

May you draw close to Him and may He comfort you and bring you Peace. My prayer is that
you will become as acutely aware of Him as He is of YOU. For there, you will find healing.
Be Patient With Yourself
© Ferna Lary Mills


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