The gift I need most this season – every season, or every day – is patience. I know, I know, DON’T ASK FOR PATIENCE! God has a way of teaching patience in a way that only reminds us how desperately we need it. Trust me, I am the eternal student riding the “short bus” on this one! Try and try as I might, I find myself continually going back to the start of the class on the patience lesson.
The Gift of Patience is my hardest gift to give. But today, I am truly challenging myself to give it. I’ve honestly learned some (I have!) as I have become more seasoned in life. More importantly, I’ve learned that overcoming my impatience with others requires developing a level of understanding and empathy that I often fall short of exhibiting. This time of year, I need to draw upon that more than ever.
That lady in the grocery store with the two whining kids taking FOREVER to checkout…she’s a struggling single Mom who doesn’t have enough money to pay for her groceries AND fulfill the promise she made to take her kids to McDonalds. She’s slow because she is mentally calculating what she can quietly put back so she does not let her kids down. I need to be more understanding. She’s trying her damnedest to be a good mother this Christmas and spread joy to her family.
That little girl who keeps bullying mine at school? She’s crying out for the attention she’s not getting at home that she needs. Her need for control and power comes from the fact that she doesn’t have the security and confidence she needs to know her world is secure; I need to make an extra effort to show her kindness and pray for her. And be thankful my child knows her world is safe and full of love.
That boss who just won’t let up? Who rains on every idea and can’t see the world from any vantage point but his own? He’s in the autumn of his career and it frightens him. He know’s his skills aren’t as sharp as they once were and his relevancy in today’s world is becoming devalued as new skills emerge he doesn’t understand. I need to learn from his expertise and take more time to show him the bridge to the future. He’ll come if I paint the path in words he can comprehend.
Yes, parking lots are jammed, people are snarly and it seems everyone is on edge. Just remember that behind every situation is a story. Maybe they took the closest spot because that leg you cannot see is a prosthetic. Maybe their temper is short because they were up all night with a sick child. We don’t know the story behind the story. We just need to know that the empathy they need us to show is the same that we’d like to get if we were in their shoes.
I stink at giving The Gift of Patience. But for the next 24 hours, I am going to challenge myself to do just that! No matter what, it will be my gift. Who knows…maybe I’ll finally make it to the head of the class!