[March 21, 2020] When I was a child my father would often recite a rhyme to me about patience “Patience is a Virtue, Catch it if You Can, Seldom Found in a Woman, Never in a Man.” I don’t know if he was simply trying to taunt me (because anyone who knows me knows I have very little patience); or if he was simply trying to inspire me to be better than I thought I could be.
Over the years I’ve learned tolerance to be sure and become adept at knowing when to keep my thoughts to myself, and how to take a beat and come up with something more articulate to say than might have been my first inclination. And, as someone who leads and manages a team of people, I’ve developed a keen sense of self, and desire to be the kind of leader I would want to follow, and the kind of boss who is looking for solutions while others are still looking for someone to blame.
Despite all of the personal growth, and the self reflection, I don’t suffer fools well, and I’m particularly bad at it when its not my job to be patient. Most members of my family, and many of my close friends will get a hall-pass, but the stranger on the street has a 50/50 chance of getting “the look” also coined the (I’m not impressed look) by one of my closest friends.
I know I’m not alone, witness rush hour in any left-hand turn lane in the country – horns blaring (and yes one of those is usually mine), old ladies and young children nearly getting flattened by those massive carts at Costco, or the snide, rude and dismissive comments people make to each other and tragically to service people (which is never acceptable, and something I pride myself on never doing).
But these are the days of our new normal; a time when our society is experiencing massive shifts, where SLOW is the name of the game – slow the spread, show down, slow your racing anxious mind.
And so, off I went this morning on a Socially Distant trip to the Grocery Store – and there I found patience. My own patience, waiting my turn for the egg fridge, and the meat section, and even for the Woman who spent (what seemed life forever, but was probably) 5 minutes debating the Cadbury bar with or without nuts. And the patience of others, pausing to wait so that aisles didn’t get bunched up, waiting in line at 6 ft. apart, and smiling at that one cashier who is THE SLOWEST one in the store, but is always kind and quick with a smile.
Grant me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change, the courage to change that which I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. And, grant me the Patience with which I was not born, I think I’ve found it, but will I be able to keep it, when we all return to “the old” normal?
This post is one in a series of thoughts as the world faces COVID-19. Series: Love in the time of COVID.