Patience Needs a Study Hall
“Lord, grant me patience and I need it right now!” I’m not sure where I first saw that saying, but it spoke volumes to me at the time. The problem with patience is that it takes time to develop it and the people around us need to have it right away. We need it right away in order to keep from killing those around us. Last month we started talking about how to live a more peaceful life and if we are to attain that goal, then patience will be a key ingredient.
Without patience, we are irritated easily, frustrated more often, and quite often a bear to be around. Ask the girls. When I am in a hurry or wanting things to move faster, I am not a very pleasant person to be around. That is especially true of the little blue-haired old woman in the car in front of me who has sat through an entire green light before realizing that she can go. At times, it’s even during that homework period when the 9 year-old isn’t listening to my profound wisdom. It could be when I have the car started and one of the girls suddenly remembers they forgot something back inside the house and we are already running late.
We become impatient when life doesn’t go the way we want it to go. We want people to move at our pace and with our goals. We desire traffic to flow and cars never to break down. We expect cashiers to be quick and doctor’s to respect their appointment times. We never get those things, so we need to learn to deal with them without getting our hackles raised. Having patience means that we may not like what is happening, but we are at grips with it and remaining calm. It’s important to remember that not everything is a life and death situation, even though you want to kill the person in front of you if they don’t drive faster.
When the 9 year-old comes to me with a problem, interrupting my flow of words, the natural reaction is to groan and snap, but it’s not the right one. It’s the same with my 21 year-old. People are more important than schedules and deadlines and when we get that through our heads, we will gain a new perspective and a more peaceful life. People are not conspiring against us, though at times it may feel like life is. We need to take a deep breath, count as high as it takes us to calm down and open our hearts to those around us. It means living in the moment and not worrying about some future time, enjoying the ones there and not thinking so much on what we could be doing instead. It’ll also help our heart rate.
Keeping our cool helps us from starting a war we never intended to start. In our impatience we could say something we later regret, hurt someone’s feelings, or ram our car into the one in front of us. Patience helps us keep control of a situation and can help others stay calm as well. Is it easy? Not at all. But it is a key ingredient to a peaceful life. It takes practice. You have to realize that you are snowballing into an impatient boulder ready to break something and calm yourself, even if all you do is replace “I’m going to kill them!” with “I will be patient. I will be patient.” The life you save may just be mine.
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