I, as do all living, breathing, bipedal creatures who presume to classify themselves as genus “homo” species “sapiens,” have many character flaws that routinely put me in my place and prove me only human. But probably the most fatal is that I was not exactly blessed with the gift of patience. Just ask anyone who is related to me. I suppose you could say I am the boss in the family, the one who dictates who does what, and when. And woe to the person who doesn’t stick to the plan or to the schedule. I have been known to be, shall we say, snappish. It’s true what they say. You always hurt the ones you love. I’m a nice person, really I am.
But I do have excellent news to report. I looked up “patience” in my Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, and here is what it said:
Patience: n. the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient
Okay, so far so good. However, in the interest of full disclosure and cross-referencing, I also looked up “patient”:
Patient: adj. 1. bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint 2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain 3. not hasty or impetuous 4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity 5. able or willing to bear
Boy is it ever my lucky day! First of all, I’m not as bad off as I thought. I can be capable of great patience in situations that demand it. I’m generally not a whiner or a complainer. Yet when it comes to the minor, insignificant details of daily life, I am an instant gratification kind of girl. I want results, and I want them now! I want my daughter to find her backpack so she doesn’t have to walk to school when she misses the bus (yes, I made that threat in a fit of impatience). I want my husband to take less than eternity to check all the doors (from both the inside AND the outside) every time we leave the house to make sure they are locked. I also want it to not require confirmation from at least ten witnesses before he is satisfied that he did in fact put the garage door down. I want the drive-thru line at McDonald’s to move just a little faster when I have two hungry kids in the car who are eager to eat so they can go trick or treating. I want my computer at work to recognize that I am a multi-tasker who runs many applications at once, and quit giving me virtual memory errors that render the accursed machine all but inoperable. And I generally just want people to do what they say they will, when they say they will. (Though for the record, I’ve been known to break my word too).
So in a stroke of good fortune, I’m relieved to discover that while my dictionary did not disprove the notion that patience isn’t exactly my strength, neither did it anywhere define patience as being a virtue. Thank goodness for small favors, because I would hate to think I lack a virtuous quality, even if my family does disagree on occasion.
Still, I’m resolved to work on an attitude adjustment and exercise more patience with the little things I cannot control. Because in the end, I am accountable to a much higher authority than Merriam-Webster.