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Patience is, um, a virtue?

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.

9 Comments (Open | Close)

9 Comments To "Patience is, um, a virtue?"

#1 Comment By Paul N. On November 2, 2005 @ 12:00 pm

Patient procrastination is also a virtue, isn’t it?

#2 Comment By Jamie Dawn On November 2, 2005 @ 4:08 pm

I love to live by a plan. I am a planner at heart, through and through.
The three other members of my household are not.
I have had to ease up and compromise.
Three against one isn’t fair!

#3 Comment By FTS On November 2, 2005 @ 5:06 pm

I’ve grown more and more patient with the passage of time. If there’s a long line, I either resolve myself to wait if I have nothing better to do or come back later.

Where I’ve lost patience is dealing with people who have no concept of time. If they don’t show up when they say they will, I give them a reasonable allowance and then I leave. An hour later, when my cell phone rings and they ask where I am, I have no qualms about telling them I left.

What’s more amazing… they’re mad because I didn’t wait an hour on them, but it was okay for them to make me waste that sixty minutes.

Go figure.

#4 Comment By Mike On November 2, 2005 @ 8:24 pm

Ditto. And I haven’t grown more patient with time.

lol at the “checking the doors”.

#5 Comment By bornfool On November 2, 2005 @ 9:49 pm

Doesn’t the prayer go something like this: “Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now.”

#6 Comment By TSB On November 3, 2005 @ 12:11 am

In the words of Archie Bunker “Patience is a Virgin”..that one always cracks me up. I’m with you on the instant gratification though, I don’t have the patience to wait, I’ve patiently learned to endure my own faults :)

#7 Comment By lesser_lumpkin On November 3, 2005 @ 8:15 am

lol indeed we are all accountable to a higher power than websters. If you’re looking to gain patience I recomend getting a very old computer. You’ll learn then.

The Lumpy

#8 Comment By Paul N. On November 4, 2005 @ 9:52 am

Here it is Friday already and I’m patiently waiting for your next witty post.

Okay, that’s long enough. Write up!


#9 Pingback By Accidental Thinker » Blog Archive » My legacy to you On May 14, 2009 @ 10:00 am

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