Lord, Make Me Impatient
“Dear Lord, give me patience and give it to me now!” Have you ever had a tune stuck in your head? A song that you heard in the morning and you find yourself humming it all day long? I would give anything to have that problem.
I do have a tune stuck in my head. But it isn’t stuck in my head because I heard it this morning. It isn’t stuck in my head because it’s such a catchy tune. It’s stuck in my head because it’s the hold music of my home owner’s insurance company. And lately it seems as if I have been listening to it on a never-ending nightmarish loop.
Over the last several weeks I have spent hours on hold, waiting to talk to someone about the damage to our house from hurricane Ian. Every single minute filled with this endless loop of synthesized music. Intermittently interrupted by a computerized women’s voice announcing how many people are in the queue ahead of me and an estimated wait time. Which I have never been able to figure out because as the number in the queue goes down, the wait time goes up.
I know that in the scheme of life this is what is referred to as “small stuff”. The very same “small stuff” that I have been instructed, on several occasions, not to sweat. Yet, here I am sweating all the same.
I try to rationalize with myself to make myself feel better in the midst of my frustration and impatience. I tell myself that I always listen to music during the day, while I’m working. I think of all of the people here in Florida that wished they had a house to sit in, while on hold to speak to their insurance company. But I have to confess that all of this sound, rational thinking doesn’t go very far when it comes to my impatience and frustration. It’s like telling someone who is mad or sad or glad to not be mad, sad or glad. In this moment it is what I am – impatient and frustrated.
So, I started asking myself why I was so impatient and frustrated? Why was I allowing something, that I could do absolutely nothing about, affect me so profoundly? Then it hit me. The very fact that I couldn’t do anything about it was the source of my frustration and impatience. And the source of my resolve to wait as long as it takes.
I wasn’t frustrated and impatient with what was happening. I was frustrated and impatient with my inability to do anything about what was happening. My withoutness was the source of my impatience and frustration. I am without the power to do anything about being on hold with my home owner’s insurance company for hours on end.
That is when this all got really interesting and introspective in my mind. As I was sitting there, floundering in my impatience and frustration, realizing that the source of my impatience and frustration was my inability to do anything about it, I asked myself a very tough question: What things are happening in my life right now, that are causing me to be frustrated, that I can actually do something about, but I’m not? As I waited on hold I developed a list of things in my life that are currently causing me frustration. All of which I actually have the ability to do something about. But for some reason I wasn’t.
When my list was complete I asked an even tougher question: Why am I not doing anything about these frustrating situations? On the surface, I came up with many very good reasons as to why I was not doing anything about any of these situations. Yet, in the light of day, all of these seemingly good reasons boiled down to my want to. I didn’t want to deal with any of these frustrating situations in my life. Thus, I wasn’t dealing with them.
I had to deal with the tree on my house and our crushed lanai. Thus, I had to endure the frustration and impatience, that any human would experience, concerning home owner’s insurance company hold times. But these other situations that I thought of, I could sweep under the rug. For they were frustrating, but they hadn’t reached the point of impatience in my life. This is the case because there wasn’t anything forcing me to do something about them. There wasn’t a proverbial tree on my house.
I discovered that for me, not until a situation moves from frustration to impatience, from something that I don’t have to deal with to something that I must deal with, will I actually act. If nothing else, this is what the hours of hold time have taught me. I guess the next step in my journey is to figure out how I can move all of the frustrating situations in my life to frustrating and impatient situations. How can they become the tree on my house? For then I will actually act.
I guess my new prayer is: “Lord, make me impatient and make me impatient now!”