‘Love is patient…’
– 1 Corinthians 13:4
One of the Bible passages most often quoted is the one above from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Many of you will know what follows ‘…love is kind’ etc and many will have heard this passage quoted at a wedding.
Patience is something we all struggle with. Many of us wish we were more patient, yet we resists the tests God sends us to help us become patient. Patience is not something we naturally connect with love (frustration springs to mind though!), so I think it is really interesting that Paul’s rather lengthy description of the nature of love starts with ‘love is patient.’
I believe he opened with patience because it is the word we would perhaps least expect. There is an urgency connected with romantic love that makes us want the other person right now. We feel we need them and the exchange of love potentially on offer. But wait. That is not actually love.
True love seeks the Highest Good for the other first, rather than to have its own desire satisfied. It cares about the soul and eternal wellbeing of the beloved more than its own needs.
Patience in love makes it easy for us to trust in God’s timing. Patience in love recognises that as long as all is well with our soul, all is well in the world… and it knows that the love of God is what makes it well.
In the Waite Smith Tarot imagery, patience is represented by the 7 of Pentacles. Here we see a gardener, resting on the handle of his spade after working hard to nurture the plant he is hoping will bear fruit one day. He has absolute faith that the plant will yield fruit one day, in the right season. He trusts in God’s timing and does not insist on plucking the fruit before its time. He knows that to get a bountiful harvest, you must work hard.
This card really does sum up what love’s patience in action looks like.
In my work as a Tarot reader, I often come across clients who insist that they should be with the one they desire, even when this other person is married or otherwise unavailable. The question for the reading is about what their ego desires rather than what is in the best interest of their own soul or the soul of the other.
I used to read like this for myself too and it brought me nothing but grief. I was not patient. And what I was reading on most certainly wasn’t love. It was lust, desire and need that motivated my ‘love readings.’
The 7 of Pentacles reminds us that there is a better way and that is to patiently wait for God to perfect us until we are ready to love, which is not so much about what we can get from the other but about what we can give. When we patiently give this way, we naturally receive according to ancient laws of cause and effect.
So when we read about love, we would do well to read on what is causing us to feel restless and impatient. Then we can use the Tarot as intended and hold it up as a mirror for the soul, to help remove the blocks to love within.
Love and Blessings,