The desire for the instantaneous, or even pre-fabricated satisfaction, has tainted our society to expect, nay demand the unattainable. What has been lost is the art of being patient.
Even though it’s called “fast food.” it’s really not that fast. At least not by the standards of many in the drive through lane. Imagine this scenario; you have probably witnessed it. Many times.
- A customer speedily enters the parking lot of his or her chosen brand of fast food. Despite encountering a long line of cars winding back from the drive through order board, they take their place in line because its “more convenient.”
- As the line seems to move slower than Christmas for a 7 year old, the customer begins a process of huffing and puffing, followed by fits of rage when the car in front does not immediately move up when the other cars move. Ranting and cursing may ensue.
- When finally reaching the spot to place an order, the customer is fit to be tied when the employee fails to hear the order properly. When reaching the pay window, the employee is regarded with contempt. The last straw occurs when the customer is asked to wait a few more minutes in the drive through parking space. Oh the humanity!
You get the idea. More, now. Better, but not any slower, now. We have become a society of convenience on its own terms, and they aren’t up for negotiation. And, when disappointing results occur, well, that’s license for a tantrum or conniption fit. And of course, we are implanting these traits in succeeding generations. Especially if they see us as parents and grandparents acting this way.
And of course, now comes the rub.
The reason that I am writing this is precisely because I have been the person yelling at the slow car that won’t get out of the passing lane and is holding me up. Or been abrupt and unfriendly to people working in fast food that receive 99 comments about how awful and slow things were, and not one thank you or word of encouragement. Now, of course there are people who are poorly trained or who just don’t care about doing a good job. I’m not minimizing that. But I also know how far a word of encouragement can go in lifting people’s spirits. We ought to be more intentional about that.
And it starts with that lost art of being patient. Paul had a lot to say about that in the New Testament:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. [Philippians 4:11-13]
But godliness with contentment is great gain. [1 Tim 6:6]
Yes, I need to be reminded of this. At times, we all do. If you read my last post, you know that I am dealing with pain that just doesn’t seem to want to go away. My wife has lovingly reminded me of times when I have been short, impatient, and downright cantankerous. Mostly because I have forgotten the lost art of being patient.
God wants us to wait. Not to be mean, but to help us grow into people that are kind, encouraging, understanding, compassionate, and who are able to lift another’s spirits because we have been in that valley before. Of course I want instant pain relief; but that’s just not God’s timetable. And Father knows best. Perhaps, one day, I can encourage someone else dealing with pain.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. [Gal 6:2-3]
How about this? I will pray for your patience, and you pray for mine. It’s a practice worth developing.
Poem: Test of Patience
People who seemingly cannot drive
But on the highways seem to thrive
Forgive my thoughts and epithets
Take them home with care
and still my mind
cool my jets
that I might love
those who drive me insane