Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is “timing. It waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” ― Fulton J. Sheen
You know who knows this better than anyone? Nonprofits – especially what we call “Mom and Pop” nonprofits. Those are the tiny charities, often run by a husband and wife on a shoestring. They don’t have grant writers or chief financial officers or secretarial staffs. They do it all because they are passionate about their cause.
These are the folks from whom I see patience every day. They wait for the simplest things to occur. They wait for miracles for their clients. They wait for money to do their work. They wait, where we’re concerned, for laundry detergent for a dirty child, shampoo for a senior living alone, furniture for their threadbare offices.
I’m not good at patience but I’m learning to be better. I have dozens of good examples.
Most of us have more than we need. When you consider the basics (a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food on the table), pretty much any other material good is a “want” not a “need.”
I have observed over the years that those of us who are materially blessed always think we “need” more. And people we know are struggling for the basics are just grateful for what they have. Recently, CRC supplied a formerly homeless woman with bedding, bath items and kitchenware for her new transitional home. How many of us take sheets for granted? She didn’t. She was deliriously happy. She didn’t care what color they were or even if they fit her bed (which was an air mattress, by the way).
Last summer, we provided new backpacks to at-risk children returning the school. I happened to be at one of the schools receiving the backpacks, a school with a large population of homeless children. One of them came up to the teacher with his backpack in hand and asked if he could give it to another student who needed it more. Compare that to the hysterical midnight shoppers physically shoving each other out of the way to grab a bargain flat-screen TV at those big box retailers on Black Friday.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.”
― Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
We see it every day at CRC Nashville. People with generous hearts and a compassionate love for those who need a hand up, not a hand out. Some of them have advanced degrees; others barely made it out of high school. We’ve even had a nonprofit partner who was illiterate. He spent a lot of his time preaching to children about the importance of getting an education. He used himself as an example of the struggles and barriers set before you if you don’t.
Make an impact. You’d be surprised how a small gesture can turn another person’s day around.