Yesterday, I was waiting in line at the check out counter of a store where I had stopped to purchase a Thumb Drive for my computer. A lady was having a hard time making up her mind what she wanted and continued to shop even while the clerk attempted to complete her sale. If I wasn't running late for a meeting and in such a hurry, I might have thought it funny, but 10 minutes went by without the sale completing. The elderly salesman had difficulty seeing the computer screen and pressed his nose closer and closer while the lady continued to shop and add more items to the sale, which only slowed the progress even more. My impatience grew as long as the line building behind me and the deep breathing exercises were not working anymore. Finally, the sale was completed and rapidly I completed my transaction and hurried on my way. When I reached my car, I paused to consider how the moment created a sense of urgency and anxiety within me and I laughed at the insanity of my internal reaction to having to wait.
As we continue to grow more and more impatient as a society, no one is talking about patience or how to handle our impatience. We no longer know how to wait graciously.
Helen Keller was born blind, deft, and could not speak. As a small child she would have temper-tantrums as her frustration as her situation reached her maximum capacity for patience. Eventually, with the help of others, she learned skills that allowed her to have patience, understanding, and even joy. Helen is quoted as saying in response to being asked about patience, "We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world." In other words, the challenges we face daily are the opportunities we have to develop patience and that patience allows us to have joy even in those difficult situations.
One definition of patience is, "The ability to wait without experiencing anger, anxiety, or frustration." All of these feelings are felt within our minds and bodies and we can give into those emotions, (scream, stomp our feet and have a temper-tantrum), or we can control those emotions and chose to wait calmly and graciously.
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Day 19: PATIENCE