About six months ago I wrote a post about a small act mothers can employ against the vice of impatience. I keep getting asked about this post, and because I am short on time these days (and feeling extremely guilty for being "absent"), I'm posting it again. I've also recently been in need of remembering my own words. :)
I once heard a beautiful story about one of the Desert Fathers, an aged man nearing his death. A younger man who moved in to the home next to him was wrought terribly with the vice of covetousness, and would steal from the elderly man. The old man noticed this, and rather than judging or accusing him he thought to himself that the young man must be poor and in dire need of things, and instead of responding with anger and wrath, he responded in patience. And so he would work all the harder to provide things for the young man to take as he needed.
One day when the old man was at the hour of death in his bed, with his brothers surrounding him and the young man too, he called the young man over to his bedside. He said, "Let me have your hands." The young man gave him his hands and the old man kissed them. As he did this he said "I kiss the hands that have opened for me the gates of heaven." Then he passed away. It is said that it was his gentle, resolved patience and love that freed him.
Ever since I heard this story I've thought how beautiful it is, and then I decided to put it into practice. So throughout the day, sometimes six or seven times a day, I will kiss the hands of my daughters, saying aloud, "I kiss the hands that have opened for me the gates of heaven." And though I'm quite certain those gates are not open to me yet, this simple act when exercised floods my heart with great love for my girls. Every time. It is especially effective during moments of impatience, which are instantly washed away.
I admit I don't employ this practice every time I'm about to lose patience as I often forget or am simply wrapped up in the moment, but when I do, it works beautifully. I hope it might be as helpful to other mothers.