by Vince DiPasquale

My father, who I consider to be one of my greatest spiritual teachers, was always trying to teach me the gifts of patience and tolerance. When I was sitting on an airplane in Philadelphia waiting to take off, we had to wait almost an hour until we were cleared for take-off. As I said my prayers, I felt feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration and judgment. The addictive personality in me was getting very impatient. After taking some deep breaths and being in touch with my feelings, through prayer and having a good talk with my spirit guide our Blessed Lady, I was able to connect to the 1st step and the 11th step of our program. Every day we experience powerlessness and if we truly say our 11th step prayer God will always try to teach us lessons that we need to learn. This day, my Higher Power was trying to teach me the gifts of patience and tolerance. The very lessons my Dad tried to teach me as a child. He would say ,”relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day”; “Slow down, smell the roses.”; “ Enjoy life”.

Let’s take some time to look at these two special words, “Patience and Tolerance.”

We live in a world that is always on the move. As technology continues it’s fast pace of growth, being busy and active has become a way of life. At times we don’t stand still long enough to enjoy the moment. Having lived on this earth now for 74 years, my vision of life is changing. Yet I know there are so many lessons yet to be learned. We have to all learn one of the toughest teachings of our 12 step program. Remember God is in charge, and all will come to us in God’s time, not ours. Patience is such a gift, especially learning how to take life slowly and one lesson at a time is to be learned. Impatience creates anxiety, stress and confusion. One of the greatest gifts of recovery is to remember that life is a process not an event.

Let’s all learn to slow down, enjoy the moment and remember that patience is a virtue and a tough lesson to learn. I know from experience how hard it is. Thanks to God, my dad and all those situations that try to teach me the gift of patience.

Tolerance requires us to move to a new level of spirituality that involves openness acceptance and adjustment. There are so many situations and people that cross our path that force us to realize that diversity is the gift of life. The enemies of tolerance are judgment, pigeon-holing and failure to see every person, place and thing that we experience in life as a teachable moment. Yet because of our humanism, we fall into judgment, criticism and fear. We usually have to experience the negative before we discover the lessons we need to learn. Isn’t it great that we are all different and human? Struggle is the core of all growth. I am certain that when someone comes into your life that is different, it tests your tolerance. They are some of God’s greatest teachers. We must also learn to be tolerant with ourselves. One of the greatest enemies of tolerance is fear – “my way is the only way”. At times we are afraid to listen to our gut and to the lessons we can learn. We all have our instructions; let’s learn to be tolerant of ourselves by learning to be good to ourselves, so that we can allow others to be our teachers. My prayer each day is to try to be open to the journey. Let’s try not to judge and let’s look at life with positive eyes. Tolerance is the gift that will help us to see how God tries to teach us the spirit of humility. Always remember that there is only one person in charge, our Higher Power. The rest of us are all servants.

Patience and tolerance are the special ways that God is trying to teach us to relax and celebrate the little things of life. These two gifts will teach us that everything happens in Gods time, not ours. Let’s all pray and be open to the wonderful way God is always is always trying to help us on life’s journey.

May God bless all of us, each and every day of life!