I’m Waiting!!   3 comments

drivingKimberly and I had a tiff yesterday on our way home from the screening of a documentary at Lynchburg College.  In the middle of the film I had left to use the bathroom, and when I returned they were concluding a segment on Ruth Gruber’s role in bringing WWII refugees to America.  So in the car afterwards I said, “Tell me about the refugees.”  Kimberly responded, “Well, Ruth was in Alaska–”  I interrupted, “I was there for the part about Alaska, what happened in Europe?”  She started over, “I was telling you that.  Ruth was in Alaska working with soldiers.  She was sent there under the auspices of the U. S. Government–”  I broke in again, showing irritation, “I was there for the segment on Alaska.  Tell me about the refugees.”  She told me and then grew quiet, upset by my sharpness.

hurry upI was raised on impatience.  I’m not sure why my family was so anxious to get to the point.  We were in a hurry about everything, and when someone seemed to be dragging their feet, we poked them to pick up the pace.  None of us took this personally since efficiency was a shared family value–if I were going too slowly, I expected a shove.  Whether getting dressed, sweeping the kitchen, learning to bike, or figuring out the road map, we allowed no one to dally.  Efficiency and patience are not bosom buddies.  Kimberly, however, was raised to value being considerate of others– if you feel frustrated, keep it to yourself and let the other person take the time they need.

delaysIn other words, to keep the group together, I want the plodders to speed up and Kimberly wants the brisk to slow down.  Conversely, I feel it is rude when others hold back my progress, and Kimberly feels it is rude when others push her to go quicker.  On the highway, I react to dawdlers in the fast lane and Kimberly reacts to tailgaters in the slow lane… okay, I admit it, I react to everyone.  I say we “feel” it is rude because I’m talking about our emotional reaction to someone else.  I may feel disrespect even when the other person intends none, and my feelings are affected far more by early family values than by present-day interactions.

Just now I have laid it all out even-handedly, but I don’t find Scripture so balanced.  Patience is a huge emphasis in the Bible, and efficiency is… well… um… there must be a verse here somewhere.  I know my father, a preacher, would categorize it under “stewardship,” but examples of wise use of resources in Scripture are focused almost exclusively on money and possessions.  I am hard put to find time-efficiency as a biblical recommendation.  God’s scales of morality seem to be stacked heavily on the side of waiting.  I don’t mean to suggest that slowness or inefficiency is a virtue–it can certainly create real problems–but I think our emphasis on it comes less from our faith and more from our culture’s priorities.  So I’m learning the value of patience. Of course, 50 years of my ingrained habit is not going to change overnight, so Kimberly will have to learn patience as well.

kid patience



Posted December 2, 2012 by janathangrace in Personal

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3 responses to “I’m Waiting!!

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  1. Love this. Thanks!

  2. This made me laugh: “Just now I have laid it all out even-handedly, but I don’t find Scripture so balanced. Patience is a huge emphasis in the Bible, and efficiency is… well… um… there must be a verse here somewhere.”

    I always feel like an idiot when someone is impatient with me. You just made me feel better about myself.

    • Well, considering the hundreds of times I have made people feel inadequate because of my impatience, I’m glad I can do the opposite for you. If we all focused on growing our virtues instead of our accomplishments, we would realize how slow to the core we all are on the things that really matter.

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