An Exercise in Patience

Four weeks ago, I got a puppy, a three-month-old Shih-tzu. I had a dog before this one for a good number of years. She died about six years ago, and I honestly haven’t been able to bring myself to the point of getting another one until now. Her name was Spanky, strange name for a female dog, isn’t it? But, Spanky fit her well. She was older when I got her, well trained. She even knew how to come get any family member from anywhere in the house, and lead them to the back door where she could exit to do her business. Now, that’s a well-trained canine. Now, I’ve accepted a challenge that will confront me with the need for patience. If you haven’t house trained a young puppy before, you haven’t a clue of which I speak.
Patience is one of those Godly virtues that we often hear jokes about: I would pray for patience, but I don’t have the time to wait on it. No matter the ripe opportunities the idea of patience might grant us to craft jocular phrases, it’s without doubt a valuable character trait. With a good dose of patience, one can demonstrate a commendable sense of maturity that can help navigate many of the stones and thistles life presents. On the other hand, some might say that patience has slowed certain leaps in justice that should have come long before their final time of arrival. Whatever side, or corner, of the argument you might take, I think it’s hard to deny the fact that society would probably be in much better shape if more patience would play out in our interactions with each other.
With adequate amounts of patience, parents may be able to nurture their children along a line of development that presents less conflict. Spouses may be able to wait on each other to catch up to a point of consciousness to which only one has arrived, e.g., management of finances, keeping clutter to a minimum, being on time for appointments… Patience could be the one character attribute that could bring peace to an otherwise conflict-laden existence. Patience seems to me to be the one thing that could be the foundation for practicing mindfulness. In case you’re wondering whether I’m about to go all Zen, no I’m not. I just think that being mindful of our existence is a good practice to which we all should devote some time and energy. It’s important that we be aware of all things around us, and how patience can assist in living for the moment. When we try to force events, we’re often trying to create wine before its time. I’m hoping that my experience with my new puppy (Ari) will prompt me to take one step at a time, instead of trying to run at the challenges of house training. If my patience with Ari can be translated to patience with my family, friends and associate, this exercise may just be worth its investment of time and energy. One thing’s certain, with a puppy you’ve got to exercise patience with everything.
I’m old and blessed. It’s about time to exercise some patience in my life.

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