Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Impatience

Today I had the unfortunate experience of having a truck pull out in front of me because he was too busy/self-important/rude to wait the eight seconds it would have taken for him to wait until I passed.  Of course, that brought out my inner Towanda...and before I knew it, I was pulling up beside this person to just glare at him so he'd know just how big of a horse's behind I deemed him to be.

Then it hit me.  His impatience brought out my impatience...and no matter how you slice it...two wrongs don't make a right.  Except, of course, that I was right, yes?

You'd think that I'd be a patient person.  After all, I was two weeks late being born.  Oh, maybe that was my mother's lesson in patience.  I still contend that she should have known that something was up when I arrived on the Ides of March.  Bless her heart.

In truth, I had to wait six years for a sibling.  She and I lived in alternate universes until about ten years ago because I was in college when she was in junior high, she was in college when I was having kids, and she was off traveling the world when I was so busy I ended up losing a decade battling exhaustion.  It took forty years for us to get in the same realm...and now we are on different continents.  (I ended up getting three more siblings when I turned thirteen, eighteen and twenty.  Yes, I got a call when I was a junior in college on my way to take an algebra test to let me know that my little brother had arrived.  I'm so serious.)

I was married five years before I could convince Big Dave that having children was a really good idea.  Okay, he's still not totally convinced, but he loves the two we have better than life itself.  He reminds me from time to time that I need to be patient and let them grow up.  That one day I won't come home to find a Bagel Bites wrapper flung carelessly on the kitchen counter, and I'll be missing the kid that does that about every other day in real time when he's off doing something fabulous with his life.

I made it through kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, high school, college, graduate school, and twenty-six years of banking AND marriage.  I've raised two children, prayed two children through a collective twenty-five years of private school tuition, and wore braces for nearly three years.  I've potty-trained two dogs (one of which stages a mutiny from time to time), created something like thirty scrapbooks, and I write sometimes knowing that nobody but a few faithful friends (and my folks) are going to actually take the time to read what I put out in cyberspace.

But I still go into "redneck" mode when someone stomps on one of my hot buttons.  I still haven't been able to get past that itch of impatience when someone does something totally boneheaded.  My compassion is gnat-sized and I am about as gracious as an invading army. 

Yet, in spite of my natural inclinations, in God's great mercy, he has decided to keep me in the classroom until He gets me where He wants me to be.  I'm like that kid who has to repeat the class every year while I watch kids stare at me and wonder what my problem is. 

My problem is glaringly obvious.  I'm just impatient.

I have no patience with He gave me a mother and a daughter who detest making decisions.  That means that I have to get over myself and wait for them to make up their minds in their own time.  This means that I have to call sixty-three times to get plans set in stone and I have to keep the decision making to something that allows them to make a choice before I go stark raving mad.  When Jill was in high school, that meant that I went to the stores and bought prom dresses that were attractive, not ridiculously expensive and didn't look like something Beyonce would wear in her latest video.  That meant that there would be about eight dresses in the entire city of Montgomery that would do.  I bought them all.  It took an hour for her to decide between the eight.  It was worth the two hours that I spent combing the possibilities to save the three days of sheer awfulness (and expense) that taking her with me would have wrought.  It was a Jerry Springer episode in the making...I tell you.

I get upset when the rules He has me living in a time of life where if you follow "x" to get "y" may no longer be true.  I may not actually end up with the pension, 401-k, or Social Security that I had pretty much thought I would...and may be living in a van down by the river.  Which is fine.  Less housework.

I also get annoyed when people are in love with their problem and have to take it out and verbally caress it ad nauseum.  Likewise with people who have a huge ego, a strong sense of self-importance, or just think that they are better than everyone else. 

Sometimes being impatient has cost me dearly.  I have spoiled surprises, tried peoples' patience, and frustrated people with my negativity.  Sometimes they get over it and move on...and sometimes they just move on.

Wouldn't life be easier if we would all just realize that we don't have the right to break in line uninvited, assume that our needs take precedence, and know as much as we think we do?  If we could just calm down and be a little bit rational? 

But we don't.

I learned a long time ago not to pray to be more patient.  I found that when I did...I only got more situations to light up my genetically disposed short fuse (I blame it on my Irish ancestry because it's convenient.)  I just learned to work around those situations that either make me turn into a "raving banshee" or a "hormonal psycho."  Those aren't my descriptions, by the way.


Anyway, through all of the years of trying to be more patient, I've learned that my only real choice is to listen more and say less.  To assume that if I am delayed in getting something done or somewhere when I want to be...that it is probably all for the best.  That people who have trouble making decisions are only trying to make the best possible choice for all parties involved.  And that none of it is really designed to get on my last nerve. 

I just have a perception problem.  And sometimes...perception is reality.

So, tomorrow, I am going to try to keep my mouth shut and not get upset when I am sitting in traffic because some bonehead  idiot individual has been pulled over for heaven knows what at 7:30 in the midst of horrendous traffic...and everyone just has to stare as they drive by.  That really happened this morning, by the way.

I'm also going to try to just be a little less Me and a lot more Him.  Here's hoping.

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