Living the Sweet Life: A Continued Study of Aristotle’s Virtues, the Eighth of Which is Patience

By Alisa Murray
Nationally recognized
portrait artist and

This year marks my 15th anniversary writing my column Living the Sweet Life. This year also marks my 50th birthday. As a way of reflection and remembrance, this year’s Sweet Life will be a continuous study of Aristotle’s 12 Virtues and how they are applied to my life.

Jedi Alisa.

Patience as a virtue is probably one of the hardest to achieve and one of the most valuable once attained. When we are little, we can’t wait for Christmas, and it takes everything we can muster to be still and wait for it. As teens we can’t wait to grow up, and we lament over what our adulthoods will bring. As adults we can’t wait to be the best, achieve the most and then, we can’t wait to retire and lavish in the golden years of a life well-lived.

Patience in everything is required to be content, and let me tell you content and 2020 do not mix – not for anyone. I have never walked into a year needing this virtue more! How were you doing before all this happened? For me I was looking at turning 50 as a rite of passage and not one to be afraid of, but rather relish in. Now I could be part of that club that Nana used to say, “You get to a certain age, and you can say and do anything and no longer give one little %$#*! what anyone else thinks.” Instead I was handed a loaded delivery of heart disease and the prospect that I will probably have another 20 years. Then I, as did us all, got handed a forced reset on my way – the one we all got handed this year.

For me there has never been anything more requiring of this virtue called patience than 2020. We need patience now more than ever, and we need it to overcome us and wash us in a way that defines the very essence of how we exist. We need patience both with ourselves grasping at the loss of what we were going to be and do. Our students need it as they head out into the world as young adults and navigate and pivot the murky waters of a “brave new world.” The elderly, who for all points and purposes should be able to have attained it by now, are tasked with the gripping reality that at the moments in their lives when they should be with family, enjoying the laughters of their grandchildren and proudly attending baseball games and ballet recitals, they are potentially signing their own death certificates just to be doing so.  But no, alas even that stuff of the elderly has been taken away.

You can readily see if you’re watching the news, and my friends I do not recommend watching the news, but if you do happen to befall turning it on, you’ll see examples over and over again of people losing their @#%^$! because they have not attained patience. There are those who find destruction of property and yel-ling and screaming to be a perfect response to what is happening right now all over the world. Others still are quietly thinking, growing and like little butterflies, transforming and metamorphosizing into better people. And what is happening is quite amazing, when you change your perspective. Some are learning how to get along with their children and teach them the necessary skills they’ll need to know in life. They did not know they were teachers even though they have been teachers all along! They are digging deep into themselves and creatively figuring out how to make their mark. They did not know they were entrepreneurs, but they have been entrepreneurs all along!

Others still are finding their faith through the hope that this too shall pass and in doing so are born again with the peace and patience that only the Holy Spirit can wash upon them. They are with the virtue patience as assuredly as they are a Jedi with the force. Let me be clear. I am a Jedi. I am packed to the brink full of patience. I am quietly pivoting deeper into everything that I hold dear over here on my little patch of this earth. Each day begins with another beautiful morning to listen to the birds singing and an afternoon filled with opportunity. As I put my hands in the soil and grow things and watch little seeds turn into great big plants, I am a gardener, and I have been a gardener all along!

Each of us are all seeds, and seeds take time to develop. So, as we walk into fall of 2020, walk in aspiration to gather this thing called patience. Receive it willingly and succumb to its grasp. Know that you will be different as if you were a butterfly, but I promise you that when this is over, if you have attained it, you’ll find yourself transformed and yes, even content.

Take Care of YOU!