The fisherman's virtue

- Joseph Uysetuan () - January 7, 2007 - 12:00am
Let's picture this: The fisherman hooks the bait, casts the line and then sits back. He bides his time-one hour, two hours, four hours. He is not fidgety about it. He is at home with it. He knows it will take quite a time, so he just waits it out, playing the waiting game with the fish.

In our life's dealings, we are destined to encounter a lot of excitements, provocations and rushes. Naturally, we get agitated, jumpy or reckless. We are unable to steer clear of it. A way out is to simmer down and piece things back in. This is a time to take it easy. If there is one quality we can learn from the fisherman, it is the virtue of patience. No wonder we are told to go fishing when we become antsy.

Patience is an excellent characteristic that we should not be lacking of. So, we must hold fast to it once we have nurtured it. It involves a process that is tedious, emotional and challenging. We must show the capability to tolerate submissiveness and sufferance. We must have the perseverance to wait calmly, to cool it. We must cultivate the habit to take things in stride, endure delays and trials.

Having patience is a big boon to us because it gives us the momentum to rethink, recharge, regroup. When in the midst of a crisis, we can reassess than frenziedly plunge into it. When committing a grave mistake, we can just bear and grin it than furiously gnash our teeth. When faltering in an endeavor, we can re-energize, reorganize than recklessly rush into things. Haste makes waste.

Being patient likewise bolsters the benefit of wait and see, the hope of a second chance, the opportunity to buy time. However, there is an attribute that needs to come along with it. That is having self-control. To forbear, to persevere, to endure require this disciplinary attitude. It is important that we must fortify ourselves with this Spartan quality. For if we lose our patience, we will miss the deliveries, blow the chances, let slip away precious time.

In whatever manner we treat patience, there are a lot of dispositions to consider. The act of waiting, for one, is a drill of patience. To illustrate, when we fall in line, we have to uncomplainingly abide by it and wait for our turn. When we are caught in a traffic mess, we have to resignedly wait for it to unsnarl. Patience is badly needed in both instances.

Patience is reflected in the brunt of the long-suffering. To cite, a fugitive hangs tough with his incarceration, fiercely determined on his emancipation or escape one day to avenge an injustice brought upon him. Even as he endures the freezing night and scorching days, etching his days on the wall of his cell. You can just imagine when he gets out. Patience counts.

Forbearance signifies the open-mindedness to tolerate the actions, positions or opinions of others. In the process, one bears, weathers, sustains it. Forbearance connotes one's willingness to be liberal, permissive, considerate, to submit with good grace. Those are aspects of patience: leniency, condoning, indulgence, forgiving, understanding. In one word - tolerance.

The following example is more on the passive type of patience. Stoic is a term defining the property of possessing great self-control. It is derived from stoicism, a philosophy that advocates virtue as the true importance and teaches self-control of one's feelings and passions. There is meekness. I suppose that would be swallowing an insult, taking it on the chin - turning the other cheek.

Talking of turning the other cheek, there are a lot of stories from the Bible that exemplifies valuable, inspirational patience. In fact, to describe patience, we say Job-like. Ergo, his story here. Job, like most of the characters in the Bible, bore traits of great patience. He was a rich but good man who had seven beautiful daughters and three wonderful sons. He also owned camels, cattle, sheep and donkeys, by the thousands.

Story goes that one day he got bad news: one after the other, his children all perished in a natural catastrophe, his flocks were either destroyed by calamities or rustled by marauders. It was total disaster. But he endured the pains and trials, forebore the misfortunes, put up with long suffering, persevered in his faith, calmly waiting for God.

Well, his constant patience and unwavering belief paid off. In the latter part of his life, the losses he suffered were all restored to him. He became father again to seven daughters and three sons, more beautiful and more wonderful than ever. As for his flocks, they multiply several folds.

Truly, patience is a golden virtue. So, be Job-like. We have experienced that when we become impatient, feeling like jumping the gun, our friends would calm us down with these words, "Rome was not built in a day." They are right. Well, so was Christianity. Now, I know why Christ picked the fishermen to lead the cast of His apostles.

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