Patience is a Virtue?

downloadBy Robin Perlmutter, LMSW
Support Connection Peer Counselor

Our patience is tested every day in the most superficial ways. In today’s society and thanks to technology, our definition of and tolerance for patience has changed drastically. I can think of a multitude of examples of this on a superficial level. Waiting on line at the market…. waiting for children to come out of the school building after picking up from sports (they always seem to be last!)… waiting at a light when I need to get somewhere because I am rushing once again. And one last example: Winter in New York this year was Mother Nature’s Patience Final Exam for most of us.

Let’s zoom in now to the lives of the women and families living with a cancer diagnosis. Add cancer to this concept of patience and the definition deepens drastically. The fortitude, strength and grace that these people harness and develop is nothing short of incredible. For many of these women, it’s more than simple waiting; it’s like living on the edge of life and death.

Technology, while a wonderful enhancement, can’t always make things move faster: it can’t rush the test results or the pathologist’s work; it can’t make a woman’s hair grow back. These women frequently spend many days or even weeks WAITING, requiring herculean effort every day to fight off the fear and worry. Many of them endure life-long treatments and side-effects, all while riding rollercoaster days of feeling ok one minute and being bedridden the next. This may sound drastic, but it is true.

I often ask myself, how do they do it? They struggle, they cry, they are sleepless, anxious, and they pray. They also find laughter, keep busy, reach out and try to keep everyone’s life normal so they can feel normal. The energy and patience that goes into this cannot be quantified or even properly described. I can only be in awe and breathe deeply the next time I catch myself fretting over the small stuff. Thank you ladies.


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