As we continue our series on anime and manga characters that embody the Fruits of the Spirit, Murasaki Lynna writes a post on patience as seen through a young woman who definitely fits that descriptor, from one of the calmest series ever created.
Patience, or long-suffering, comes in different forms. On one end of the spectrum, Patience can refer enduring through hard times with patience, believing that a better time will come again. From a Christian perspective, we can have patience while we wait for God to fulfil his promises to us. In the Old Testament, the Israelites had to wait a long time for things that God had promised would happen to happen: being freed from Egypt, entering the Promise land, returning to Jerusalem, etc. Even though it could sometimes take generations, God would always end up fulfilling his promises (Of course, sometimes the promises were delayed because they disobeyed God, but I digress). Likewise, Christians often have to trust God to take care of them when things get rough. Non-Christians, too, will also have to be patient when things are hard, because hard times are always coming and going.
In anime, this type of patience isn’t uncommon. In order for a plot to keep going, the characters can never completely give up (or if they do, something has to force them to keep going); otherwise, there would be no story. And unless this is a slice-of-life, bad things generally happen.
A good example of this type of patience can be found in Romeo x Juliet, where there are long periods of time where the characters had to be patient and wait quietly and secretly in order to fulfil their goals, particularly when Romeo and Juliet had to spend so much time apart when they wanted to be together the most. Even though it hurt them, they didn’t give up.
The other side of the spectrum is being patient with other people- not getting angry when they do something wrong, or when they get angry at you. It is also necessary to be patient when others are deliberately being mean- to respond with kindness rather than to be angry. Patience is forgiving, and, well, being patient. We all make mistakes, we all are slow at times, we all have trouble understanding each other, and unfortunately, many people (myself included) have trouble waiting and being kind to others during their daily setbacks.
Patience in everyday life is sometimes the hardest- it’s so easy to snap at someone, to complain about their slowness, and to point out their mistakes, without even realizing that we’re not being patient, or even potentially doing harm to others. In the anime/ manga world, there is no better example for Patience I can think of than Alicia Florence from ARIA.
As Akari’s only senior in ARIA company, Alicia had many things to do. She had to train Akari, spend long hours working, and rarely had time to spend with her friends. But even with all this hanging over her, she never snapped, never got angry. She was kind, helpful, and understanding in everything she did. She tried her very best to help Akari and her friends see the good in their lives, and to help them learn and grow. Because of her patience and graciousness, she is greatly admired.
In one omake side-chapter, her patience struck me especially. In this chapter, Akari’s friend Alice notices Alicia’s lack of frustration and anger whenever they make a mistake. She watches her carefully, waiting to see if she’ll get angry, and when she doesn’t, she asks Alicia why.
Alicia doesn’t answer directly at first (which is unsurprising by now). Instead, she sends the cat, President ARIA, on a mission to deliver a candy to a little girl nearby. He does so, but it takes him a very long time, and he gets distracted before giving the candy. Instead of pointing out his mistakes, Alicia praises him for his work. She then gave him another candy to be delivered to a nearby little boy, and that time he was much faster. When he returned, she praised him even more.
After the demonstration, she explains to Alice that if she had lost her patience, it may not have done any good, but because she was patient with President ARIA, he was encouraged, and improved.
Often we forget how important it is to be patient. It’s always tempting to lash out at someone who is in the wrong, or scold them for making a mistake. But although it may seem like the best thing to do at the time, it really isn’t the most helpful or kindest way to act. When we are Patient, we show our love for others, especially when that love is being tested. Patience is not only helpful to others, but it enables us to remain calm in times of trouble, to forgive others who have wronged us, and to be emotionally strong. It may seem like such a small, ordinary quality, but it does a lot more that we think.
Other Posts in the Fruits of the Spirit Series: