Ever notice the similarity between patience and patients? Yes, they sound alike. (They are homophones! Yeah English class!) But I more mean their connection.
While we are always capable of being a patient, we don’t really consider ourselves as a patient until we are pursuing or some how in a process of healing or seeking remedy.
The origin story (your’e welcome comic fans) of both words starts the same:
mid-14c., paciente, “capable of enduring misfortune, suffering, etc., without complaint,” from Old French pacient and directly from Latin patientem “bearing, supporting, suffering, enduring, permitting” (see patience). From late 14c. as “slow to anger, self-restrained, having the temper which endures trials and provocations.”
Woot Woot www,etymoline.com!
Most everyone I know hopes to be more patient, but rarely do people want to be a patient. (Reading them together messes with me.) We use these terms very differently, but maybe they aren’t so separate, perhaps they are a little more intertwined. Our season as a patient, if we allow it, can cultivate our patience. As we slow down and seek to be more patient, we are submitting ourselves as a patient of the circumstances, inviting a process to remedy what is frustrating or rushing us.
I’m wondering about passages such as these, how do they read when I allow myself to be a patient of what they offer:
Be joyful in hope, (a) patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12
Be completely humble and gentle; be (a) patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently (as a patient) for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. – Psalm 37:7-9
Before all the mega-theologians in the room get worried I am offering a varied translation, I’m just lightly sifting through the idea. As an extremely impatient person, there is something both comforting and challenging about allowing the reality of my “sickness” of impatience to require me to acknowledge that I am foremost, God’s patient. That, and, homophones may be my new favorite thing.