Patience is a Virtue

George was just about to sit down to dinner with Martha when he heard her. Doris had returned. He and Martha looked at one another, sighed in unison, and sat, silently resolving not to let whatever it was that she might do disturb the meal that Martha had worked so hard to prepare.

Typically on Tuesdays Doris had already gotten home from her hair appointment by the time George returned from work, but today when he had pulled into his driveway--silence. Perhaps Doris had fallen asleep. It was uncommon for her to imbibe to the point of falling asleep during the day. When he had come into the house and asked Martha about it, she had answered that she hadn't heard a thing from Doris all afternoon.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if Doris were staying elsewhere for a while, George had thought, but he was not optimistic. The only places Doris ever stayed for long besides her home were the hospital or the police station, and the drama Doris would add to the neighborhood had see been forced to go to either place was not worth the tradeoff of having her gone for a while.

Quietly, Martha got up from her seat and went over and turned on the radio. The soothing sounds of  "Count Thou Fount of Every Blessing" filled the dining room. It was a technique often used to drown out Doris' less than holy speech.

For seven years now, George and Martha had lived next door to Doris Hobson. Seven long years. It had been an altogether terribly unpleasant experience which had culminated when...well, perhaps thinking about the cat incident wouldn't be the best thing for his appetite. Needless to say, Hezekiah had become and indoor cat.

"I've been thinking," Martha said just loud enough to be heard over "Come Thou Fount" and Doris' continued ranting out in the yard, "and I think it's time that we seriously consider moving."

It made perfect sense that Martha would want to. They had been through a lot in seven years and George knew that Martha had been especially troubled when Doris had interrupted Bible study a few nights back and accused them of leaving liquor bottles in her waste bins. The notion was absolutely ridiculous of course, and their friends knew that, but it had embarrassed Martha a good deal nonetheless.

All that aside, George was surprised to hear Martha say they should consider moving. George had brought it up many times with Martha, but Martha had felt the Christian thing to do was to stay, to show love to one's neighbor--in a literal sense.

She had remember him how as Christians they were called to love their enemies and she often cited Colossians 1:11 to him saying, "being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience."

George was proud to have such a god-fearing wife, but he had not like the fact that Martha had felt it morally appropriate to stay, but now here was something he had wanted to hear for years. Martha thought they should move. "What about Colossians 1:11?" George asked his wife.

"Yes, I thought you would ask about that," Martha said with a simple smile. I realized today when I was reading my Bible that I had been so focued on the scriptural reasons to stay I had been ignoring some of the scriptural reasons to leave, and then as I continued reading it was as if the Holy Spirit led me straight to the answer I needed. I read 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Bad company corrupts good morals."

"Oh, how very true, my dear," George said reaching out and taking her hand, "how very true."

The End

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