Aplomb, another word for patience, has its origins with the French. It literally means according to the plummet or plumb line. As a carpenter’s wife, I know a little bit about a plumb line or plumb bob. It is a simple tool that is used by builders who want to define an exact vertical measurement. It is a non-magnetic weight connected to a string. When the weight is allowed to fall freely, then an exact vertical measurement is defined. A plumb line is an uncomplicated tool that even a carpenter’s wife can understand.
Letting Patience Reign
Tools are useful when it comes to measuring and determining alignment. Whether we are building a house or building relationships, using a plumb line shows us when we are off kilter. Patience, I believe, like the practical plum line, is an instrument we can use to measure our own plumbness.
It is easy for anyone to go off course, especially when under duress. As much as any one of us may dislike stress, strain, or tension though, these are the exact circumstances that help us to assess our measure of patience or impatience.
When a relationship is strained by miscommunication, how long are we willing to wait for that miscommunication to correct itself? When our intentions are misconstrued, how long are we willing to tarry until a correct interpretation is realized? When a relationship goes awry, how long are we willing to linger until it realigns itself?
If we do not let patience have its way in us, then impatience gets in our way. If we are unwilling to stand by, see what might transpire, watch for or anticipate something to balance itself out, then we might begin to believe that setting things right is entirely up to us.
As a result of this faulty thinking, we may take actions that we will later regret. For instance, we might insist that others understand us and if they do not, we justify our anger and intolerance toward them.
Or, we will persist in communicating finite details with precision so that we can feel blameless for mishaps in a relationship. In short, if we cannot endure the discomfort of hardships, hassles or inconveniences of normal life, then we lose our ability to be aligned, upright, and balanced.
Why bother to be aplomb? When we are aplomb then we possess the patience to wait for others to aplomb themselves and waiting patiently keeps us aplomb.