Have you heard it being said to you that “the patient dog eats the fattest bone”? It could have been one of those moments that you were frustrated having endured for too long for the manifestation of an already delayed reward or a delayed promise.
It may also have been one of those instances where you felt as though others are being settled and compensated while you remained ignored – like when other spinster friends got settled in homes while you weren’t. Or it could have been at the brink of your throwing in the towel that a close and kind friend stepped forward to encourage you to exercise a little more patience.
Indeed the circumstances abound for the usage of the saying. The UPs and DOWNs of life demand that we hear encouraging words such as this. And though the irrelevant usage of the saying may seem to have eroded its underlying potency, yet we all need to hear it as the right situation requires.
But a curious mind may inquire; how did the patient dog become the recipient of the fattest bone? Can patience be rewarded? Truly, patience can serve a good purpose but it may not change the form or content of the reward. Let’s revisit the spinster scenario introduced above. Now consider this, will a patient spinster who had waited for a long while for a suitor end up marrying a multimillionaire, a fattest bone? When compared to her friends who had gone ahead of her, will she end up with the best of men? None of these.
Being patient in life isn’t a tactic aimed towards eating the remaining largest/fattest share. It doesn’t imply that others will leave behind the largest portion for you to feast on. If anyone was aware that there is a large portion then they would not have left it all for you. Instead, patience as used here is a virtue that maintains your conviction. It is a way of sticking to what you know is true. The doctrine of eating the fattest bone can be understood in the following sense;
1. Active patience has the potential of building experience, an experience that increases knowledge because knowledge grows with time. The one who is the patient would have learned a lot while waiting. The moment of waiting is a good time to understand and prepare for what lies ahead. In the case of the spinster, she would have gained the “fattest” knowledge (bone) in interpersonal relationships or home management.
2. Waiting is being patient with the result. Imagine a farmer who is impatient with an infertile soil. Upon treating the soil to improve fertility he is impatient with the process and ends up selling off the plot. The one who later gains ownership will eat of the result.
3. Finally, the fattest bone is a reward. Only servants can truly appreciate what it means to be patient because masters are driven towards such.
Patience looks good on whoever that has it.