This is our truth, tell us yours
If anything distinguishes the last decade of my life compared to what went before, it’s been the pursuit of patience.
Patience is not a virtue for me; it’s a self defence mechanism.
It’s been sorely tested this weekend, which has been full of reminders that it’s not just about me being patient, but about extending the benefits of patience to others.
Simon Danczuk is someone who is sorely in need of my patience. He describes himself on Twitter as a contrarian, which is an interesting way of explaining the fact that he’s frequently wrong, and sometimes vile. He is, in his public utterances, hard to like and imposible to support, and his troubled personal life is dogged by the suggestion that he is short tempered as well as short on political skills.
Simon has decided that he will be the stalking horse for a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn. Now, one of the qualities of a stalking horse is that it depends on the prey not realising that a hunter walks behind it. Simon Danczuk, in his usual hamfisted way has given away the reality, that even he doesn’t take himself seriously as a leadership contender.
Where does patience come into this? Does Simon Danczuk know or care if I am frustrated or irritated with his attention-seeking behaviour? The whole point of my patience is that it is about me, not Simon Danczuk. I’m under no obligation to understand his behaviour, or to seek to explain it. I don’t have to know why a man so clearly unfitted for higher political purposes would choose to place himself at the centre of political debate. The demand for patience that I place on myself is intended to preserve me from the fruitless effort to understand the inexplicable.
If I were impatient I might seek to explain Simon Danczuk, but to what end? He won’t change, even if I could reliable diagnose him from a distance. The same goes for all the others, some described so memorably by Jem earlier today. I don’t have to understand Richard Dawkins; just to be sufficiently patient not to want to fix him. If he does not want to change, nothing I do will change him. Being patient enough to recognise that is good for me.