This last summer I had the opportunity to teach my young grandson about patience. As we were leaving church one day in the midst of the construction on 96th street, I could feel myself becoming impatient with how much traffic was backing up and how long it was going to take to just exit the parking lot. I recall thinking to myself, why would sitting here in traffic make me feel so impatient, it’s not like I’m on a deadline or have any time restraints. In an effort to help myself be patient I told my grandson, we needed to be patient with all the traffic because of the road construction. Over the next several weeks, I continued to make this comment, aimed more at reminding myself, even though I was saying it out loud to him. Then one Sunday, I didn’t even notice the congestion and my grandson said “There sure is a lot of traffic!” My response was, and what do we have to do in traffic? And he said, “Be patient, because the road is small while they are working on it.”
As much as I like this story, and as much as I like to think I’m a patient person, with honest reflection, I have to acknowledge I’m not. I allow myself to get frustrated or annoyed, often times over things that are really non-consequential.
I look at Chris Garrett and I’m inspired to purposefully focus on further developing my patience. I watch him as he is learning to read lips and learning sign language so that he can communicate with Valerie, and I watch Valerie celebrate sitting up on the edge of the bed, and breathing without her trac and I am at a loss for words. As I see Chris and Valerie respond to their situation, I have to wonder what I have ever encountered that I should feel entitled to be impatient. If I can’t be patient with traffic, technology, daily interruptions and disruptions, or when things just don’t go my way HOW could I ever have the strength and stamina to be patient in truly difficult situations.
As we drive through town this month and pass by banners displaying the character trait of patience, I encourage each of us to reflect on how we’ve been patient or impatient, that week, that day, or even that hour. At least for me reflecting on how I’ve been patient and impatient over just the last four days, has lead me to realize I have plenty to work on.
Valerie suffered a hemorrhagic stroke on July 29, 2013. Valerie is going through a long recovery with some anticipated hurdles to overcome, but Valerie is a very strong woman and the family expects a full recovery. This story is shared with permission from the Garretts.