I was driving home on the highway around 8:00 last night and the fog in the air was so heavy and dense – as thick as peanut butter (who can name the movie?!). While I knew, in general, the curvature of the road, not being able to see in the distance was unsettling and morphed a familiar path into the unknown. And so I drove with my hands gripped fiercely to the steering wheel, patiently awaiting a clearer view. Finally, as I arrived closer to the city limits, lights and buildings began to take shape in my sight once again. But it was too late; I was already exasperated.
They say patience is a virtue; what an understatement! Some of us are blessed with an abundance…and then some of us are not. I will admit that as I’ve gotten older, I have a little bit more than I’ve had in the past, but we’re talking miniscule, almost teeny-tiny, amounts. Not even worth noting, actually.
Here’s what’s fascinating to remember with a spirit of deep humility, when it comes to the gift of patience. If you turn to the Bible, the source of what we believe in our hearts to be true, you’ll find models of the purest fortitude:
~ Noah waited one hundred and twenty days for the rains to arrive.
~ Joseph was in prison for over ten years for a crime he didn’t commit.
~ Abraham waited twenty five years for his son to arrive.
~ And Job, poor Job, he had everything stripped away, waiting close to a lifetime for God to show him the mercy he deserved.
So why is it that I struggle to wait three minutes at a stoplight?
Impatience is a direct result of not having control over a situation. Driving in the fog last night, I kept thinking, why does it have to be foggy tonight, of all nights, and, am I home yet?
The truth of the matter is that we are impatient because life isn’t moving the way we think it should, yet, lost in our own thoughts, we fail to recognize how the lives of others are being affected.
For instance, yes, maybe I could voice my frustration to the secretary in the doctor’s office from having to wait for a full twenty minutes, but unbeknownst to me, it’s possible that the patient who was just diagnosed with cancer needs a little bit more time with the doctor to digest their life-altering news. The woman in line at the store who I feel is majorly inconveniencing me might be requesting a price check on an item because she just lost her job a few hours ago and so purchasing the item at the corrected, lower price is essential. And why is it the fault of the driver of the car that stalled on the road, that I woke up twenty minutes late for work? Why am I placing the blame on them?
Let’s face it. We’re often impatient for our own self-centered reasons. We want a clear view of the road up ahead before we drive any further. But that won’t always be the case. There will be times when we have to maneuver at a slower pace, fully aware of obstacles, and people, around us. Will being impatient get us to our destination any quicker? Not in the least.
Armed with this knowledge, what can we learn in the waiting?Maturity? Understanding? Even opportunities to grow, perhaps?
Maybe it’s high-time we look at situations from a broader perspective and determine if our impatience is truly warranted…or a needless endeavor to claim control over that which, when it comes down to it, cannot be controlled.
There are always two paths - the path of impatience or the path of acceptance.