But back to the personal relevance of patience, which, among many things, permits us to deal more effectively with the unevenness of life’s experiences. I recorded the substance of this speech about three months ago while driving to a stake conference in Elko, Nevada, across that rather barren, but beautiful in its own way, stretch of desert. Incidentally, as soon as most of this speech on patience was dictated, my car threw two fan belts!
During that drive it was brought forcibly to me that the seeming flat periods of life give us a blessed chance to reflect upon what is past as well as to be readied for some rather stirring climbs ahead. Instead of grumbling and murmuring, we should be consolidating and reflecting, which would not happen if life were an uninterrupted sequence of fantastic scenery, confrontive events, or exhilarating conversation.
Patience helps us to use, rather than protest, these seeming flat periods of life, becoming filled with quiet wonder over the past and with anticipation for that which may lie ahead, instead of demeaning the particular flatness through which we may be passing at the time. We should savor even the seemingly ordinary times, for life cannot be made up of all kettledrums and crashing cymbals. There must be some flutes and violins. Living cannot be all crescendo; there must be some counterpoint.
Neal A. Maxwell, Patience, BYU Devotional, November 27, 1979