As a side note I believe I have learned, over the years, never to ask for a virtue like patience. Because do you know how God gives you the opportunity to work on a virtue like patience? Yeah. By helping you find ways to practice it. Oh sure, I guess it involves some pouring out of grace but right now I'm kind of in a let's-sulk-around-the-house-about-how-much-being-patient-and-waiting-for-the-psych-people-to-call-stinks type of mood and I've been doing a fair job of ignoring that fact.
Except that in my head, when there's no suffering at all going on, I make these crazy requests to God to grow in love and understanding, even though I'm beginning to have an inkling of what the answers to those types of prayers generally require.
You see, even in the perfect little world in my head I know that growing towards sainthood, even with the outpouring of grace required, doesn't happen in a vacuum.
I can look at Jesus on the cross and remind myself that he told us to take up our crosses and that there was something in there about the path being narrow that made this whole thing sound like something other than a cake walk... or I can read the lives of the saints and the trials that they oh-so-often endured, and know that Jesus was obviously very, very serious about the aforementioned taking up of one's cross... and I can't ignore the fact that this growing often seems to involve suffering.
In fact, I can even see the tininess of the things that seem like "suffering" to me in my day to day life, at least from a distance, when I'm in a mood to examine these sorts of things. Those moments of perspective, incidentally, also usually happens to be when I'm in the mood to request whatever sufferings God would like to send my way so that I might grow and become more like my savior.
From a distance it always sounds like an awesome idea... and it makes me feels so brave, like I'm trucking along down the road to sainthood (I think that usually happens right before a face plant of some sort, which you can probably see coming from a mile away).
Because in reality, it's never that pretty. Sure I can pray for sufferings to offer up like a champ, I can imagine all the rosaries I'll say when I'm in labor and all the fantastic intentions I'll have while I'm praying them, but when the wheels hit the pavement it's more like "oh-my-goodness-the-red-superhero-boots-just-accidentally-smashed-my-big-toe-one-too-many-times-and-the-nail-broke-in-two-and-God-please-please-please-please-it-hurts-make-it-stop." Which is about as not-heroic as one can get.
Still, we push on and I try to pray for the grace to be a little bit less of a weeny the next time it inevitably happens (those boot wearing toddler feet are dangerous!). And some days (okay, more like moments) I actually feel like I'm toddling along in the right direction with teeny tiny steps... by succeeding at something small like not whining about a headache for an entire hour (inevitably the headache lamentations still usually tumble out of my mouth after a point, however...).
This isn't the post I set out to write... but I have to say, having written it and having thought about actual suffering, like the sufferings of the saints in the book Sadie is always pushing into my lap, the fact that my phone still hasn't rung suddenly seem like a much, much smaller problem than it did when I began. And that's something.
Baby steps. Baby steps...