Patience & the Testimonies By: Evelyn C. Pointer
Patience had an excellent memory. She could always recite hermemory verses with no problem. She memorized long passages ofscriptures. By the time she was six she had memorized thecommandments, and the testimonies and all of the books in thebible. She knew Psalms 91 by heart since she was five. The 23rdPsalms when she was three. In school it was no different. She wonthe spelling bee, and she made straight A’s. So she couldn’tunderstand what was wrong with her twin brothers, James andJohn. They were six years old and couldn’t remember anything!Her parents had been rehearsing with them for months now. Allthey had to do was remember the testimonies! They got it allmixed up. Their parents had to help them every Sabbath, in frontof everybody! Could it be? No! She couldn’t think that aboutthem, they were bad and awful, but they were her little brothers.But could it possibly be that they were dumb? Patience shookthat thought away. How could they be dumb? Her parents weresmart, and she was smart, so they had to be smart, right? Andthey didn’t even seem to care. They just punched each other andmade faces and pretended they were passing gas. Sometimes itwasn’t just pretence. Gross!After another Sabbath where Patience was embarrassed, (John:Blessed are the peace breakers for they shall have mercy…. Andthen James: Uh,uh,uh Blessed are the pure in heart, for theyshall have uh, uh uh. And then Sister Dinah saying loudly, well let’sgive them a hand. Good try boys, good try!), Patience decided thatshe would try to help them herself.It didn’t work out so well. They didnt want her help. They wantedto wrestle, and watch Sponge Bob! Even on Friday night when theyknew they had to go to church the next day, they still justwanted to play. She tried to appeal to their sense of pride, to
their sense of right and wrong, to no avail. Patience decided toappeal to her mother. “Mom, what’s wrong with James and John?”she asked. “What do you mean?” her mother said. Didn’t hermother notice? “How come they can’t learn the testimonies? Allthey want to do is play!” “Yes, I know” her mother sighed. “Theyjust need more time, they’re only six.” “I knew them at that age.”she said. “Well, yes you did, but your brothers are not you!” Shewent on saying how boys sometimes took a little longer than girlsat first, and how she was sure that they would catch on any timenow, and how we have to be patient with them because they werejust six, and remember they were born a little early… and blah,blah, blah, all of the usual excuses about the twins and theirbehavior. “But, Mom,” Patience said, “they act like they’re….” “Likewhat? Like they’re what, Patience?” Unfortunately for Patienceshe missed the warning look in her mother’s eyes. “like they’redumb!”she said. “Patience! How dare you call your brothers dumb!I have never had a dumb child! You think you’re so smart? There’sa lot you need to know!” “Well mom I knew all of the beatitudeswhen I was six.”Patience said. “There is more to knowingsomething than memorizing,” her mother said. “It doesn’t meananything to know what something is, unless you understand what itmeans!”Later on that week, her mother decided to prove a point withPatience. She quizzed her on the meaning of each of thetestimonies during vesper Friday night. Her father looked onsmiling unaware of why there was tension between his twofavorite girls, as he called them, and the twins looked on hoping tosee Patience fail at something for a change. But Patience haddone more than just memorize. She actually listened some of thetime to the sermon and the testimonies at church. And shelistened all of the time to what her parents said, and watchedwhat they did. Somehow all of this soaked into her without hereven trying.
“OK Patience, you know we’ve been teaching your brothers thetestimonies for a while now, I’d like you to tell all of us what eachof them mean!” Her mother said in a firm way. “Ha! Ha!” herbrother James said in a way that sounded just like Bart Simpson.“Yeah, Ha, Ha,” her brother John always followed James in anymischief. “Shut up boys and listen, your sister can teach yousomething.” Her father said.“Blessed are the poor in spirit. It means to share!” Patience said.“Is that all?” her mother said. “Well, I heard you talking toAuntie Gina about how the rich people want to keep all the moneyand don’t want to give anything to the poor. I guess if you’re poorin spirit, you don’t care about having riches so you don’t mindsharing. It’s like, it’s like you don’t be covetous.”Patience thoughtit through. Though her mother was trying to teach her a lessonshe couldn’t help being proud of how bright and perceptivePatience was. She had to fight to keep from grinning. Patience’sfather did not hold back. “Woa, listen to the girl, this is ourdaughter! Baby you’re smart just like your mother!” His face waslit up with a brilliant smile, all teeth! The dimple in Patience’ rightcheek came out. “OK, Patience let’s go on.” Her mother said.“Blessed are they that mourn,” she recited. “It means to be sadabout something. Mom, you’re always sad when anything badhappens to somebody, especially when it happens to somebody inour family or in the church.” “Is that it?” her mother asked.“Well, on atonement we have to fast and pray, and if we do wrongwe have to repent. Pastor Thomas said we have to cry to the Lord,and the Lord will hear us.” “Very, good Patience, keep going.”Hermother said. “OK, Blessed are the meek means to be humble, notto have pride and to control your temper. Blessed are they whichhunger and thirst after righteousness, well that’s what we’redoing now, it means to study the bible and to serve the Lord andworship him.
Blessed are the merciful, it means to have compassion and pity onsomeone even if they’ve done something mean to you, and to helpthe poor. Blessed are the pure in heart means to give your heartto God and to obey him and not get mixed up with bad things inthe world. Blessed are the peacemakers, means to try to stay outof confusion or fighting, and to try to get along with people.” Shelooked at her brothers pointedly, her parents pretended not tonotice. The twins were always fighting. “Blessed are they whichare persecuted for righteousness sake, and blessed are ye whenmen shall revile, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evilagainst you falsely….well the last two are talking about how peoplemay mistreat you because you believe in the truth. They may talkabout you and make you feel bad. But God is going to bless you.”“Excellent, excellent job Patience,” her father said. “Didn’t she doa good job honey?” He said to Patience’s mother. “Yes she did,”her mother said. “a very good job. You memorized the testimoniesand you understand the meaning. Patience, has anyone everpersecuted you for righteousness sake?” Patience pointed to herbrothers. “They make fun of me all the time.” “I’m not talkingabout that! I mean has anyone ever mistreated you for obeyingthe Lord?” Patience thought for a minute. She had a lot offriends. She was smart in school, and good at track and she wasthe best in dance class. Her mother knew her teacher and alwaysexplained to them if there was something that Patience couldn’tdo. Her best friend was Daisha, and she lived on her street.Except for her brothers, things were pretty good for her. “Idon’t know, I don’t think so.” Patience said. “Well, Patience isgenerous,” her father said. He always took up for Patience.“Remember she gave some of her clothes and her toys to theSmith family when their house burned down?” Her father said toher mother. “And we never have to go to the school because she’sgotten in any trouble. She studies her bible lesson, you know shedoes. And I see what her brothers do.
She even tries to keep them from getting in trouble. Sheprotects them.” “I know that Patience is very good, but I wanther to be like her name. I want her to have even more patiencewith her brothers. Patience is doing well, but she hasn’t beentested.” Her mother said to her father. She was in seriousteacher mode now. She turned again to Patience. “Patience youknow and understand, but you also have to live in the testimoniesand it has to be tested. One day something is going to happenthat will make it hard for you to do what’s right. Somebody isgoing to hurt your feelings or try to fight you, and you’re going towant to do something to get them back. If you can keep thetestimonies then….well, you truly know the testimonies. And don’tworry about your brothers. They are me and your dad’sresponsibility. We’ll get them in line. They’re just a little spoiled.”A few weeks later Patience came to remember everything thather mother said. Patience took modern dance at school. She wasnaturally graceful and a gifted dancer. In fact she was the best inher class. There were dance competitions. Her dance troupe hadwon all of the city wide competitions largely because of Patience.She practiced everyday for an hour after school. All of the girlswere excited. Her best friend’s mother was making costumes forthe next competition. This time they were competing in theregionals! Every year it was held on the first Sunday of May. Twoweeks before the competition her dance instructor came to tellthem about a change in the date. Because scheduling problems,the competition would be held on the first Saturday instead. Itwould still be wonderful. They would all be taken in a bus and stayovernight in a hotel. And since they didn’t have to go to school thenext day, they were going to go to the movies and to a restaurantfor lunch on Sunday. “It’s going to be great!” her teacher said.“We’re going to have so much fun!” Yay! Everybody cheered.Everybody that is, except Patience. “What’s wrong, Patience?”Daisha whispered.
“It’s on Saturday, I go to church.” “So? I go to church on Sundayand I go every year.” “But my parents…they’re not gonna let mego.” “You have to go! You’re the best dancer!”Daisha said out loud.“What is it girls?” asked Miss Simmons the dance teacher.“Patience said her parents won’t let her go on Saturday becauseshe goes to church!” Daisha said in front of everybody. Everybodyturned to look at Patience their mouths round and frowns on theirfaces. Patience wished she could run away and hide. Her facegrew warm, she couldn’t say anything. “That’s not fair!” “We needPatience!” “That don’t make no sense!” ”Why can’t you go?” “Thissucks! Patience, you gotta go!”All of the girls in the dance classbegan to shout at once. “Girls, girls, calm down, I’m sure whenPatience’s parents understand how important this is they’ll makean exception just this once. They wouldn’t want Patience to leteverybody down after all of your hard work. That wouldn’t beright. I’ll call your mother Patience.” Miss Simmons said. Herwords sounded OK, but she looked very concerned and veryannoyed. Patience knew that nothing that Miss Simmons saidwould convince her parents to allow her to break the Sabbath.Miss Simmons called Patience’s mother that evening. It wentexactly like Patience knew it would. She made it quite clear thatPatience would not be able to attend. “We have to obey the Lord.I’m sorry this happened, but everyone has to make a sacrificesome times.” Patience could tell that her mother felt really badfor her, but she couldn’t help but cry. She knew that none of herfriends would understand, except maybe her best friend. Daiashahad been her best friend since kindergarten. Their mothers werefriends too, and her religion had never made any differencebefore. In fact, Daiasha had come to church with her a few times.She seemed to enjoy herself too.
On the next day at school, some of the girls kept looking at herand whispering and laughing. When she went to sit with Daiasha atlunch she walked away from her and went to sit at another table.She tried to talk to Daiasha after school. “Hey Daiasha, what youwant to do today?” “We have another rehearsal today, but youdon’t have to come cause you’re not coming to the competition. Mymother said that your parents are taking things too far. Mymother said it’s ridiculous that they won’t let you go. She saidthat your parents are just being selfish!” The other girls camecloser giggling. They wanted them to fight. “That’s right, they’rejust being selfish trying to ruin things,” Bonilla said. “You don’t goto a real church anyway.” “Yes,” said Pauline “Don’t nobody want togo to your church anyway. You think you too good. Like you betterthan everybody else. My mother said you all are just weird!”Patience just stood there and didn’t say anything. She didn’tdefend her beliefs and she didn’t fight back. It was as if she wasfrozen. Worse still, she felt hot tears beginning to well up in hereyes. She wished she could disappear. “And my mother said youdon’t have to worry about coming to my birthday party, ‘cause it’sgone be on Sa-tur-day!” Daiashia shouted drawing out the wordSaturday. Then they all laughed. Patience turned around and ranall of the way home.Patience went straight to her room and shut the door. She lay onthe bed with the covers over her head crying. Her mother camein. “Baby, what’s wrong? Why are you crying, did somebody hurtyou.” She pulled Patience in her arms. “No mom, it’s just that…it’sjust that….the competition, I can’t go and …..Daisha andeverybody are mad at me….and” she couldn’t go on and broke downcrying. Her mother just held her and tried to comfort her for along time. When she looked up she saw her mother looking hurtand angry at the same time. Tears were coming from her eyes too.“Patience, I hate what those nasty children are doing to you. Theyare just ignorant.
I would have rather it happened to me than to you. I’d do anythingto keep you from being hurt. But it’s just not possible in thisworld. I want you to remember that they hurt the prophets, theykilled them too, and they killed Jesus. It’s OK to cry, but I wantyou to know that what we do in our family, how we believe is right.You do know that don’t you sweetheart?” “Yes mom, but I thoughtthey were my friends. And Daisha, she started it.” “Well Patience,Daisha was always jealous of you. You’re smarter and moretalented, and if I may say so, much prettier than she is.Sometimes when people are jealous of you, when they get achance, they’ll try to hurt you. Daisha is not a true friend.” “Idon’t want to go back to school, mom! I hate them, I hope theylose!” Patience was beginning to get angry. “You don’t hateanybody Patience, that’s wrong. Don’t let these horrible girls turnyou into someone as bad as they are. You are going back to schooland you’re going to hold your head up. You did nothing wrong. I’mgoing to have a talk with that Miss Simmons and the principal.Thank goodness we have freedom of religion still in this country.”“But that may make everything worse mom,” Patience said.“Honey, you’re not in this alone. You’re my child. The teachersneed to know how you’re being treated. It’s not good to keep themin the dark. Daisha’s mother called me, I know where Daisha getsit from. Don’t worry about that girl or her mother. And Patience,”her mother continued as she rose from the bed and began walkingto the door. “You know what the bible says. Don’t try to get backat them. You treat them in the way that you would like to betreated. Try to avoid any fights. Let an adult know if things aregetting bad. Your father and I are always on your side.”After Patience’s mother talked to Miss Simmons and theprincipal, they had a talk with all of the girls and told them ifthey picked on Patience then nobody would be going to thecompetition. The girls in the dance class still would not speak to
or play with Patience. But a couple of other girls and some of theboys were still nice to her. Patience decided not to go back to thedance class. She decided to play soccer after school. She wasn’tthat good, but she still had fun.They lost the competition. The girls looked at Patience. Daisharolled her eyes. Patience walked on with Casey and Dwayne. Theywere going to play soccer.A month later Patience heard that Daisha had been hurt in a caraccident. She was going to be away from school for three months.Her teacher asked Patience, since she and Daisha were supposedto be friends, if she would take her school work to her on the wayhome every day. Patience took a deep breath. “Yes, ma’am.” Thiswas not going to be easy.“Here, Daisha,” Patience said, as she handed her the schoolwork.“Mrs. Smith said it’s due back by the end of the week.” “ThanksPatience.” “Does it hurt?” Patience asked looking at the cast onher leg. “Sometimes, but my mother gives me pain medicine.”“Well, I hope you feel better soon. I gotta go!” “Hey Patience, youwant to stay and watch tv with me?” Daisha asked. “I’m sorry, Ipromised I would play with my brothers after school today whilemy mother paints.” She said. “Thanks so much Patience,” saidDaisha’s mother, “it’s hard for me to get to the school, I don’twant to leave Daisha at home by herself. I really appreciate it.Come by anytime now. Tell your mother I said Hi.”When Patience got home she told her mother what happened. Hermother just smiled and hugged her. “I think you can teach yourbrothers the testimonies, in fact you could teach a lot of peoplethe testimonies. I am so proud of you.” Patience ran up the stairs
“OK John and James, I’m the monster and I’m gonna find you!Roar! I’m coming! You better hide!” She heard laughter and feetrunning. Her little brothers may be wild, but they were a lot offun! The End!