Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can,
Seldom found in woman,
Never found in man.
I found this quote on Google. It's anonymous, as far as I know. Sounds ok, doesn't it? But is it true?
Most of us nowadays, when we consider doing something, like buying a product, joining a club, trying a new diet, or maybe cultivating virtue, tend to ask ourselves: What's in it for me? (Be honest now!) So perhaps we should look at exactly what virtue means before going any further...
The word virtue comes to us via Old French, from the Latin virtus. This word in Latin means manliness or courage, and it in turn is from the word vir, which means a man. Our word virile is from the same source. The word virtus also has the meaning of "effectiveness" and we see this use in the word virtual. As in "virtual reality", giving the sense of something that has the effect of being real.
Ok so far? For the Romans, someone who showed manliness or courage was automatically a good sort of person, so the word virtue came to be applied to those qualities that a courageous and manly fellow would have.
If you look at the quote at the top though, it seems that patience is a virtue that men don't have at all.
Looking a bit further into this, if you look at the word patience, you find something even more interesting. It again comes from Latin, patientia, with the original meaning of "endurance". If we look a bit closer we find that the word passion comes from the same root word. Also the Greek word pathos (suffering) is from the same root meaning, and this one comes into words like "sympathy" (suffering together). The word passion tends to have a sexy sort of meaning for most people today, but in former times, it meant suffering. So for example, there was the Passion of Jesus on the cross, meaning the suffering.
I found another quote, this time from someone called Lyman Adams (who I have to confess I never heard of before), which goes, "Patience is passion tamed." This seems a bit absurd now. Rather like saying "Green is green".
Here's another quote I found. "Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it."
(I think that's enough quotes for one day.) But the question is: Why should you bother to acquire patience?
Well first, there are many situations where you just won't get what you want right this instant, or even this year. So why stress about it? Have patience!
Sometimes, to keep a good relationship going, you need to practise the art of forbearance, not getting angry with your partner or parents or children, even when you have good cause to. Have patience!
Or when you see the events in the world not really going the way you think they should? Do whatever you can, and hope for the best to come. Have patience!
All these situations have got something in them for you to gain if you have patience in them.
So what do you think? Patience really is a virtue then?
Just one more quote, and this is the last one, I promise!
"Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead."