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PATIENCE

From the April 1918 issue of The Christian Science Journal


In Christian Science patience is a character-building force, and not a mere expression of passivity. It is more than waiting, more than contentment, more than resignation. It changes idle waiting into active waiting. It transforms listless resignation into earnest constructiveness. Idleness and inactivity are as different from patience as a clod of earth is different from a hive of bees. Wherever industry has borne fruit, there patience has first made her home. That activity is a quality of patience, is not a peculiar teaching, for has not St. Paul told us to "run with patience the race that is set before us"?

The man who loosely discriminates may mistake stir for activity, and when facing stagnation often gives way to impatience as a means of making things move, apparently regardless of whether they move in the right direction or not. Mere movement is not to be confounded with progress. Mrs. Eddy says pointedly, "Rushing around smartly is no proof of accomplishing much" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 230). Nothing worthy has ever been achieved through impatience that might not have been better accomplished without it. A gust of wind may blow the farmer's apples from the tree, but the apples keep longer and are worth more when picked by hand.

We have for so long associated waiting with patience that the two words have become almost synonymous. This is manifestly unfair and leads to inaccuracy in thought and statement. Waiting is no more an element of patience than it is of impatience, for one may wait either patiently or impatiently. One may readily conceive that God is patient with His erring children, but to believe that He stops and waits for delinquents is to humanize one's concept of Principle to a degree that is neither helpful nor warranted.

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