Monday, March 4, 2013

Patience

The Chinese word for 'patience' is 耐心 (naixin).  I looked this up yesterday while sitting next to my friend who is named Patience.  Unsure what the 'nai' meant, I looked that up too.  It means 'to endure'.

I looked at my friend, "Your name means to have an enduring heart."  She smiled.

But that only got me wondering about the parts of 'nai'.  So I looked up each individual part.
'Nai' is composed of two smaller characters, side by side.  One of them is 而 (er) which is a conjunction like 'and' or 'additionally'.  The other is 寸 (cun) which means 'inch' or a small unit of length.

To endure then literally means 'another inch'.  I like that.  I not only like that idea - I love it.  To endure doesn't mean that you are always strong or always perfect.  It means that you keep taking another step, you inch forward just one more inch.  You keep trying, even if your effort seems miniscule.  Somehow, inch by inch, you make it to the end.

It's a beautiful sentiment.


On an unrelated note, yesterday, at the fireside broadcast, the sound didn't come in for a few minutes.  Nonplussed, we sang the opening song anyway since the words were on the screen.  I pulled out my Japanese hymn book and sang along in Japanese.  Then, somewhere in the third or fourth verse, the picture went out as well and everyone muddled along without the words, relying on their memory.  My friend turned to me, laughing.  "Erin, you're the only one left singing right now...in Japanese."  I stopped and stared at her when my friend on the other side spoke up, "Nice and loud.  At least you have a good voice."  Oops!

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