When it came time to check out in the grocery store the other day, I began perusing the lines to see how many items each person ahead of me had in their baskets. Choosing the shortest line, which by the way is absolutely no indication that it will be the "quickest" one, I found myself in what I like to refer to as "The Patience Line".
For a while I didn't even know that it was the "Patience Line" because I was fiddling with my phone and looking at the covers of those celebrity magazines and wishing that it was a perfect world and I could purchase one of those yummy chocolate bars instead of the package of sugar free mints I had thrown into my basket. After my attention span was exhausted, I began to notice the little old lady in front of me...and the quickly forming line behind me. That's when I do what I do best; I listen carefully to someone else's conversation (don't judge me...I'm sure you do it too!) and began daydreaming about how to turn this into a blog post.
First, I must tell you that I immediately noticed this little white haired lady at the register who was not only sporting a velour sweat suit, tennis shoes, dangly earrings but also the thickest southern drawl I had ever heard. While I would normally be the one tapping my toe and looking at the time on my watch, between the outfit and the drawl, I was TOTALLY drawn into the conversation between her and the checker. And making a mental note that I would definitely not be the little old lady wearing a velour sweat suit one day...
It seems that there was some sort of dispute about an LSU license plate that she had found on the 75% off table and was adamantly telling the checker the price. To his credit, he very calmly stated that it was going to cost her only $2 and then asked how much would she "like" to spend on it. Hmmm...I thought, what if she says nothing?! His kindness settled her down a bit as she explained she thought he said he was only giving her $2 off. WHEW...battle over. I thought. Next on the agenda were coupons. I watched as she peeled a wallet of coupons from her purse and seriously thought he might be giving her money back for her purchases! I don't coupon. Apparently I should. There were a couple that he could not accept and after a complete explanation as to why, her transaction was finished and I was up next!
As I glanced behind me I saw that the line had become even longer but no one seemed to care. People were on their phones or talking to young children in their buggies and I though about the true meaning of patience as I had experienced it that day. We have become a society so used to convenience and quickness that we often times forget how to wait. Or better yet, we don't like to wait. I mean, who does? However, I have found the "waiting times" are where the deepest life lessons are learned. The "Patience Lines" of our lives, if you will. Have you ever had to wait for something? Anticipate it? Good or bad...the wait breeds patience. A new mother expecting a baby, starting a new job, graduating school, a new house or car, a health report. Things that do not come quickly or easily. These are all "Patience Line" moments. And in these moments we respond in one of two ways: 1. We impatiently tap our toe or try to push through the moment to achieve what we want in a quicker manner whether it puts us in financial or emotion stress OR 2. We wait. We draw near to God and those around us. And while we wait, we learn important life lessons. We learn that waiting is not such a bad thing. Waiting grows us and allows us to truly appreciate not only the little things in life but life itself. So...the next time you find yourself standing in a "Patience Line" try something different instead of tapping your toe impatiently. Stop. Take a deep breath. And enjoy the moment...
" Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." (Ephesians 4:2)