The Virtue of Patience
Beyond the corn mazes and pumpkins (and today, it seems, pumpkin spice-flavored everything), to me the traditional autumn harvest season celebrates the virtue of patience. The fruits of the farmer's labor that arrive in the fall depend on hard work six months earlier, during the spring planting season. The farmer knows he or she will need to wait half a year before those tiny seeds turn into something viable, and maintain faith that a bountiful harvest will come with no guarantee of success. Much can happen in the interim, making the eventual harvest all the more reason to celebrate. In today's world of instant gratification – where dinner or groceries can be ordered online and delivered within 20 minutes, with little concern for where the components originated – patience often seems to be in short supply. We want results immediately, and often ignore the process required to get from points A to B.
This mindset isn't confined to just food. Many well-meaning people want to help those in need, but don't understand the commitment required to transform lives in meaningful ways over the long-term. They want a quick fix, making a donation or volunteering a few hours so they can feel good in the moment. Unfortunately, the problems faced by most of the people we serve at Volunteers of America don't come with easy or quick solutions. We help the most vulnerable, many of whom have battled for years with homelessness, poverty, addiction or mental illness. They require a continuum of multifaceted services, and often face a journey of months or years before they can reach full independence and stability. We must remain patient and perseverant as we help them build the most successful lives possible, and know that success doesn't come overnight. Like the farmer who plants a seed in the spring, we must remain faithful that our efforts will eventually bear fruit.
Learn more about the broad continuum of services we offer vulnerable people to help them build lasting stability and success.