Monday, September 22, 2008

Patience... it's a virtue

May I have a drum roll please? This is the last of the, "I've been meaning to write but haven't had time," posts and after publishing this will be officially caught up. I can only hope that this isn't the start of another drought of posting "more words to ponder".

I am the first to admit that I have a problem with patience, the problem being that with me, it is always in very short supply. The frightening truth is that it would seem the older I get, the less patience I have. Now I know the 2 people that read this post will probably say, "not Randy, he has all the patience in the world." I blush and say thank you for the very kind words, but they are in fact untrue. I don't have all the patience in the world, some days I would be hard pressed to fill a thimble full. And if I do seem to present a portrait of someone with near infinite patience to the outside world it is only through very well rehearsed acting and a considerable effort.

The emotion I do seem to have an over-abundance of is anger. It would seem to me that anger and patience usually have an inverse relationship to one another. In that the more you have of one trait, the less you have of the other, and vice versa. Now that my head is starting to hurt I must press on to the meat of this post so I can go and have a nice lie down.

The title of this post, "Patience... it's a virtue" starts with me back in my high school days in the marching band. How can I miss the quintessential test of patience that is the marching band? Don't you just love the word quintessential? It means the pure, concentrated, essence of anything. At any rate, in my high school days, the pure, concentrated, essence of a test in patience was playing in the marching band. Understand I was still a child, not yet married, and not yet a parent so I had yet to learn that the quintessential tests of patience change as we get older.

Marching band epitomized (I like that word too) a test in patience. It seems as if everything in the marching band required patience. You had to wait to load the bus, you had to wait to get on the bus, you had to wait to get off the bus, and you had to wait while the band director chewed out someone who was messing around. So my buddies and I came up with a song called, you guessed it. "Patience... It's a virtue." And it came to pass that whenever we felt patience ebbing away, we sang the song and let the blissful waves of patience envelope us and make us feel at peace. Nice thought, but it usually failed miserably. It was a good song though.

Of course, as I grew older I found more and more severe tests of patience. The first severe test was my 1st two years of marriage. Please don't get me wrong, I love my wife dearly and could not imagine life without her, but those first two years, my goodness, am I glad they are over. We had gotten married, the honeymoon was over, I had taken her from the only home she knew and moved her 200 miles away into a shoebox sized apartment. (married student housing at North Dakota State University is not known for its spacious living conditions). Times were rough. I spent many hours either working at one of my two part time jobs, going to classes, or doing homework. Very little time was left for us to spend together. What little time we did have was spent arguing about something or another.

After I finished college, we moved back to Mandan and then we started having children. How naive I was to think that two years of marriage would be my worst test of patience. Children, I really cannot think of any other extreme test of patience than raising children. Children don't just test your patience once, they do it on a daily (several times daily) basis.

So when people comment on my inexhaustible supply of patience, I try not to laugh. If I seem to have so much patience, it is only because I am tested on an almost daily basis. And it takes work not to lose control. Your patience has already been tested by just reading to the bottom of this long blog. So the next time you find yourself about ready to strangle someone. Stop, take a breath, think about what it is that's causing your anger to rise. Ask yourself if this is really worth losing your temper over. If you happen to have any fairy dust, sprinkle some of that on you and think happy thoughts, you might even get airborne. And if all else fails, sing my little song. Sing it with me now to whatever tune enters your mind, "Patience.... it's a virtue."

1 comment:

Steve at Random said...

Randy, maybe patience is something in compared to me, you seem to be a very patient and quiet man. I feel your angst (I like that word), because like you, I'm generally most impatient around those I love. Strange isn't it. Steve