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February 7, 2013

MAY: A love that is patient and kind

My sister is a saint. Having threads in most religions, the term “saint” has a wide variety of meanings, depending on the religion or denomination and its usage. 

The original Christian connotation referred to any believer who put faith in Christ. In Orthodox and Catholic teachings, all Christians in heaven were considered saints, but some were deemed to be worthy of a higher honor because of their character or deeds.

In debating that age-old “nature versus nurture” question, does someone display virtues such as patience or kindness because it is their nature, or are they characteristics that have been learned over time? Perhaps, as in the case of my sister, it is a little of both.

Perhaps she learned by taking care of our mother and grandmother. Because she lived less than a block from their house, my sister became the quickest responder to problems and joys and the fears of growing older. 

Grass needed to be cut. The grocery store needed to be visited. Doctors needed to be seen. Hair needed to be cut and curled and colored. 

My sister was always there, providing a car and a ride, a lawn mower and a push, or a shoulder and a tear.

When difficult decisions had to be made, my sister harbored the weight of the anchor. When memories faded and patience grew thin, hers did not. 

When harsh words were inadvertently spoken, whispers of hope and love were given in return. When the frustrations of age and the lack of independence ruled the day, she allowed love to reign supreme.

Perhaps she learned by being a teacher. When she was a little girl, she set up a classroom of teddy bears and Barbie dolls as students. After more than 30 years of teaching high school, she probably wishes she had just a smidgen of the compliance of a stuffed animal in the desks. 

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