Pateince is a virtue! Or did you not expect that?

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INSIGHT OUT By Adina Morris

When I was a kid, I would often hear the refrain, Patience is a virtue! Meaning, just be patient! You can’t have everything instantaneously! And this was in the age before the Internet and cell phones!

Over the years, I have had to learn the hard way to have patience. It is a lifelong process and not something that you gain overnight just because someone made you aware of the need for patience, that now all of a sudden you have it.

For the locals, you know there is a lot of traffic on highway 696 lately due to construction. At the beginning of the school year, I would try different ways of getting around it. Taking different local roads each time. Well, for those in the know about Michigan construction, there was no better route and some were even worse than the traffic on the highway!

So, like a good adult, I have gotten used to taking the highway. It takes double the amount of time to get home and so I take a deep breath before getting on and then think, who can I call during my drive time! Might as well be productive;)

Well, this morning I had company on my trip home from carpool. No phone calls…. One of our kids was home for the day and had to come with me for carpool. On the way home, as we got on the highway, said child stated with all of the innocence of a kid, “why don’t you get off the highway and take the local roads. I’m sure it will be quicker!” To which I replied in my many months of wisdom earned by trying said routes already, “no it isn’t any faster. We will just have to be patient!”

This child has in the past requested that I go faster on the highway as the speed limit allows for it. I calmly explain that I can only go as fast as the person in front of me. Otherwise, I will crash into that person. Sometimes I can switch lanes in order to go faster and get ahead, and sometimes it will not help, and I just need to be patient.

Well apparently these were ridiculous answers to the child. How could this be quicker? We were sitting in what seemed like endless bumper to bumper traffic! And how do you have patience here? It is so frustrating! There must be something else we can do! And why isn’t that person going any faster?!

But there isn’t another route, and that person can only go as fast as they see fit. We can’t see what lies before that person, we can only see what lies before ourselves. So the only thing we can do is to keep driving along, inch by inch, mile by mile, until we reach our destination. All of the maneuverings in the world will not get us there any faster. Why? Because that is what has been deemed. And we need the patience to admit it, accept it, and agree to keep moving forward.

Because at the end of the day or ride, as the case may be, we will get to our destination. It will sometimes just take longer than we would have liked. Is that frustrating? Well, yes it can be, but it doesn’t have to be.

How? Well, if I know that I am on a slow boat to China instead of the fast track to Hong Kong, I can live with that knowledge a little better than expecting the fast track and then not getting it.

You see it all comes down to our expectations. If I expect something, and then I don’t get it, of course I am frustrated! However, if I know that I would like something, but that it will take longer to get it, well yeah, I may be initially annoyed, but then I adjust my expectations and I can move on with my day. Which is why I wasn’t flustered when we entered the traffic filled highway, and our child was. 

It can be a lonely place when our expectations come falling down flat in front of us. There are the little bumps in life, like traffic in our commute. Then there are the bigger disturbances when our expectations of our relationships don’t seem to be on the right track.

So instead of getting frustrated and saying it’s my way or the highway, and trying to get around it, I am right and you are wrong…. I can take the highway. It will be a little longer process than I would like, but well worth the trip in the end. I will reach my destination at the best speed possible for me right now, and I will arrive in tact and whole in body, mind and spirit.

I can take the highway or my way, however, in this case the highway has become my way, and we are all a little more patient because of it.