The Courage of Patience

He faced the mob of righteous zealots

Standing against a cold wind-driven rain

Relentless in their intent to shame

His rain-streaked face knows what the righteous don’t

His resolve stands with the certainty of timeless wisdom


In the moment the mob wonders

Is he confused, feeble, or just plain crazy?

Shamed many times before and yet he stands

Undaunted against the forces of ignorance

His scars like armor reveal the truth


The mob has chosen an easier path

To surrender themselves to the convenience of deceit

Their sentinel trolls smirk at the man of patience

Hunchbacked, revealing their spineless character

While he wields the power of time against expedience


His strength assured by the clarity of integrity

And the patterns in the sands of time

Pointing always toward the wisdom of patience

Against the hordes of the fashionable scions

He awaits that magical moment of revelation


As angels circle like a halo of reverence

The sky clears and only calm warmth remains

Time has its way, as it always does

Patience worn thin, but never bare

The dazed mob left staring at the spot the feeble man once stood

Only his divinity remained


The ancients, sages, and prophets had many points of view and dispositions. Most lived unsettled and nomadic lives. Many were persecuted and some executed for what they believed. What they all had in common, however, was the courage of their convictions that survived the ages largely because of their most valuable virtue: patience.

They held and shared their convictions with a sense of undaunted perseverance. Regardless of what was popular and most often an easier path to take, they leaned into resistance whether in the form of a cold wind-driven rain, as employed metaphorically in the verse, above, or more direct ridicule.

In the past few years, we have individually and collectively endured plenty. In spite of their sense of moral virtue, many gave in to the impulse of expedience and joined the often-angry mob, while others chose to flee their commitments and obligations to wipe their slate clean; both attempting a different form of escape from civil and personal responsibility. Those who were steadfast in their sense of virtue and duty took their licks, often enduring periods of painful isolation. They remained—both in-place and in-virtue.

But the sun always rises again. Sunlight reveals and, as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis suggested, is “the best of disinfectants.” In the moment of dawn, roaches and rats scurry for cover. Sunlight is always unwelcome to those with something to hide or who wish to simply conceal their shame (if they can even still feel shame). Those left standing, who have endured their lot with a sense of honor, are the ones we should quietly acknowledge if only with a mental note of admiration.

Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, perhaps this year more than any in the last few years. It is also time for spring cleaning. Look around your life. It is time to take stock of those who stood with you in the cold wind-driven rain and those who took cover or ran. I expect you will find the number who stood relatively few, which at first may be disheartening, but it can also make life much easier moving forward if you actualize the opportunity. Now you know with whom to spend your time and energy.

One of the great lessons of life is knowing when to discard the practices and people that threaten your well-being. This may sound harsh and contrary to building your circle of friends and community. It may appear to violate your sense of empathy or inclusion. But, as the stoic Epictetus taught, “protect your own good in all that you do.” Do not allow your sense of moral virtue—your good—to be compromised by those whose selfish cowardice is their prevailing navigational beacon. After all, it’s okay to be empathetic toward yourself, too. You have no duty to those who succumbed to the convenience of deceit. Rather, your duty is to shield both your character and your soul from these nefarious influences.

Carpe diem. And, happy spring.


Note to those who read “Our Imagination Blindspot” (March 12, 2023). In this post I warned of the emerging technology of AI. I ran across an excellent examination of both the promise and threat of AI recently in the New York Times by Yuval Harari, Tristan Harris and Aza Raskin. It can be found, here.