A recent issue of National Geographicm magazine gives a charming vignette of inspiration for improving our patience. It tells how Roger Morigi, a renowned stone carver, spent days on end painstakingly chiseling the leaves in a Biblical tableau -- leaves he knew would be completely hidden from view. n1
n1 April 1980.
A friend who crawled up on the scaffold to watch asked: "Why is it taking you so long? The leaves are excellent, but who will ever see them?"
Replied the master carver, "God will."
To know that one infinite Mind and Soul knows and rewards all that is good, including good effort, should be incentive enough to inspire us always to do our best. But are most people as generous with patience as Mr. Morigi? Do the private details of our lives get as meticulous attention as that sculpture?
In the press of time, temptation may whisper to the busy housewife, as if it were her own thought, "Who will know if my closet is disorderly?" To the harried businessman it may suggest, "Who will complain if my personal records aren't neat?"
But when the housewife finds her clothing too wrinkled to wear and the businessman loses track of information needed to fill out his tax returns, experience becomes the teacher of patience. It is axiomatic that no one suffers as much as the one who surrenders -- even if the world will not immediately notice -- to carelessness, laziness, and apathy (all the subtler symptoms of impatience).
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, alerts us to the great need for patient labor at all times. In an address to her Church she says: "We are all sculptors, working out our own ideals, and leaving the impress of mind on the body as well as on history and marble, chiselling to higher excellence, or leaving to rot and ruin the mind's ideals. Recognizing this as we ought, we shall turn often from marble to model, from matter to Mind, to beautify and exalt our lives." n2
n2 The People's Idea of God,m p. 7.
God has given us an infallible model, His ideal of perfect manhood -- Christ, Truth. Christ Jesus patiently carved out God's ideal in human living. And he advised his followers, "In your patience possess ye your souls." n3
n3 Luke 21:19.
Patience as Jesus lived it is neither a philosophic put-up-with-evil nor a Pollyanna put-it-out-of-sight. The master Christian manifested in his healing works a lively, consistent fidelity to good, an active patience.
When confronted with distress and degradation, Jesus didn't just console the suffering. He relieved, restored, and reformed people who appeared helplessly diseased and hopelessly deformed, both physically and morally. He was a sculptor of lives. He counted no opportunity insignificant. No individual was unworthy of his loving, patient best.
Acknowledging that we have a model to emulate -- the divine character -- is a good beginning. Improving our fidelity to that model requires great discipline of patience. We can all learn to do the best we can, even when there is no eye to see and no voice to praise us. Divine patience is never inert.
God, immortal Soul, patiently produces, perceives, and appreciates perfection in every detail. The man of His creating, reflecting the divine omnitude, cannot fail to express patience and esteem perfection in every particular. But we must understand that we have these divine possibilities and exercise the God- given patience necessary to work toward realizing them.
Morigi the stone carver envisioned the perfect leaves that he could create with his tools. He clipped away everything but what he saw in his mind's eye. Every blow counted.
Christ Jesus, the master life-carver, envisioned perfect man as God creates him to be. He rejected every concept of man but what he saw in his Mind's eye. Every thought counted.
We too can become skilled in the art of Christian living. We can have the kind of patience that presses on even when others don't notice, until it sees its highest hopes fulfilled. We can awake to realize the possibilities for Christliness in our lives, and bring them out with patience. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Cast thy burden upon the Lord. Psalms 55:22