“Tech Support,” do these words bring up any ill feelings? Would you rather stand on-line at the DMV with a screaming child pulling at you on your only day off having not even showered or eaten anything that day at 4:00 in the afternoon; oh, and did I mention you are on crutches?? Why are difficult situations like mis-communication, tech support, long lines, or tricky problems so easily frustrating? This frustration can range from getting fired up from bad phone support to mild road rage to even quitting major life projects. The struggle to call up patience at times like these is personally a life-long battle.
When I was a child my mother used to sing this “little diddy” to me:
Have patience, have patience don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient, you only start to worry.
Remember, remember that God has patience too.
Just think of all the times when others had to wait for you.
I still sing this sometimes. The nostalgia brings a smile to my face. Then I think of how ridiculous it is to get worked up about something, and then the patience sets in. Now it is one thing to be patient with the little things or even the people who come in and out of our life on a daily basis. But let’s expand the focus from the menial frustrations and take a broader look at other scenarios in life when we could benefit from a little more patience. For example, times when we are waiting for something to happen or change in our circumstances and we are quick to just give up. There are many times in life when we find ourselves anxiously awaiting the next chapter; “If I could only (you fill in the blank).” We think that tomorrow should come today and this impatience causes us to lose focus, get frustrated and sometimes drop out of the race all together.
In Nashville, people are waiting for their break; waiting for the stars to align. This waiting game can weigh heavy on our hearts and cause some people to throw in the towel. You think to yourself, “Maybe this business lunch will be the tipping point in my music career. Maybe this demo will be the song that gets me heard by the top producers in town and they can’t help but pick up the phone that instant just to call me!” When this doesn’t happen right away we begin to settle into the love affair of self-doubt and defeat. Someone once said that the people who make it in this town might not be the most talented but they were the ones that stuck it out. The individuals that succeed in life are able to tap their reserves of patience and perseverance when something becomes too hard, too humbling, or is too long in coming.
French saint & bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales, says this, “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” Whether you struggle with mild boughts of impatience while driving or you lack perseverance to pursue your life’s passions, don’t give up. Don’t be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry. Patience doesn’t have to be synonymous with the saints that have gone before. It is not an unattainable “grandfather” virtue. We have the duty and the ability to tap into this well of peaceful perseverance. The next time you are faced with a situation that may seem challenging, no matter how large or small – believe that you have the capacity to wait and endure. This steadfast ability to overcome the little things will translate into a securely founded ability to tackle the larger circumstances life throws your way.