Suffer me

I heard the phrase again the other day that never fails to get my back up: “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” I don’t like it, mainly because it’s often used as an excuse for being rude or dismissive of other’s ideas and not giving someone a full hearing. A few years back I was interviewing a candidate for a job. Early in the interview, when I asked her to describe herself, she said, “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” It hit me as such an inappropriate statement for the interview, that, ironically, I didn’t hear much of anything else she said and ended the interview as quickly as possible. I used her one “blunder” as an excuse for being dismissive. I didn’t “suffer fools gladly” on that day. I’m not proud of that statement, but it’s true.

I hope that we can teach our son to have more grace than me as he begins to see how profoundly we are all flawed. The great need of my heart is to have others suffer me, an insufferable fool.


One more unpardonable trespass,
one more intolerable slight,
one more day to suffer
insufferable fools.
You have your standards
and your righteous anger,
You are surely justified
in just one more bridge.
Pour the gas, light the match,
watch it burn, as you stand
blameless and alone
on your island
for perfect people.
Here’s the truth:
We are all fools.
Suffer me.


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