The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Not long ago I needed to fill my car up with gas. All the lines were backed up with at least three to five cars waiting. I pulled into the nearest line and waited my turn. As I got out to gas up I heard horns blasting and a ruckus behind me. Apparently the guy directly behind me cut off four cars to get his gas, and the other patrons were irate. The guy behind him told him he was rude and called him an idiot. However, a guy in the next isle taunted him with names and slurs the entire time I gassed up. My Subaru was empty while the Mercedes who’d cut the others off only needed a splash of gas. The problem for him was this is the type of station that once you reach the pumps you can’t pull around the person in front of you to leave…you must wait. I’m not sure what this guy accomplished other than causing more irritation to himself and others. While I admit, it was in bad taste for the one guy to ride him the whole time, it allowed Mercedes guy time to think about what he’d done. Did he feel a sense of entitlement that he shouldn’t have to wait his turn like the other patrons? Did he not realize he was cutting others off? I didn’t see the actual offense, but only heard about it in the aftermath of accusations. The Accused never offered an apology or excuse. He totally ignored the hecklings while he pumped his gas. Perhaps that was the smarter thing to do though it did not earn him any points with the offended.
I often wonder about people who zip by in traffic and end up waiting at the same stoplights as everyone else. Speeding doesn’t get them where they’re headed any quicker when you’re in a busy city. Perhaps patience, virtue that it is, has also become almost a lost art.
Technology has birthed a “me now” society. People want instant gratification. They want results without waiting. The courtesy of taking turns has blown out with the wind. I do realize there are still many courteous and patient people, but I see less and less evidence of it these days. I mostly hear people complaining about how long something takes rather than how much they enjoyed reading/conversing/resting while they waited.
I try to remember the old adages, “Good things come to those who wait” and “Anything worth doing is worth doing well”. I know when I get hasty or take shortcuts, not only do I make mistakes but I also miss out on living right then and there.
It seems to me I’ve become much more patient as I’ve gotten older. Perhaps it’s one of those life lessons, or maybe practice has paid off. Or maybe I just don’t feel as rushed as I did when I was trying to juggle, home, work, kids, marriage, and a social calendar all at once. How about you? Do you feel you are more or less patient than you once were? What do you think has attributed to the change?
Slow down. Look around. Listen. You never know what you’re missing if you don’t take the time to be aware of life around you.