I have always considered myself a fairly patient person. While I don't fall in the patience of sainthood category, I am not reckless or impulsive either. I can usually wait my turn and wait for the water to boil. That would be true unless I am in a hurry or late for something. Then I can get pretty impatient, pretty fast. Still, I have never felt it necessary to pray for patience. There are those Christians who joke about God sending some ridiculously hard trial to teach you patience. I haven't needed or believed in that.
Still events in my life seem to be conspiring to teach me to practice greater patience and trust that God has a plan. I am learning to listen for God's voice in the waiting and to hear His call for me. The race is more a marathon than a sprint.
Last week I had a great opportunity to learn more patience and to practice it with greater fidelity. I had placed a rather large book order, almost 400 books. Some were ebooks so they were easily downloaded and put into use. But over 300 were physical books. Although they have not all arrived, the ones that did filled 12 boxes. There is no lesson in patience in that. Unpacking boxes and boxes of new books is the best or one of the best parts of my job. It feels like a birthday party that goes on and on.
The patience lesson came when I went onto the district accounting website to receive or pay for the books. I had some problems getting the system to work correctly. It was really slow. When I called, the accountant laughed at me, told me my order was too big and it was going to take a long time to receive that order and furthermore, there was nothing I could do about it. I suppose I didn't believe her. With each item on the invoice I tried clicking and clicking to get it to go to the next item. It took a sweet forever to get just one item received and all of my clicking to theoretically make it go faster, froze the system fairly often. Then I had to reload, losing all of my data.
While I did all of this, I was also checking out books to students, fixing Chrome books or ordering the fixing of Chrome books, and setting up and actually selling things at the book fair. Good thing I am a great multi-tasker. Then a tech friend came by and told me to stop all the clicking. I had to click once and wait. Since I was getting no where fast with all my clicking, I forced myself to do it the way she told me to. It still took forever, it just didn't freeze up and lose everything which meant I might conceivably finish someday.
I was nearly in tears feeling frustrated and sorry for myself and angry that no one had warned me about this problem with big orders. The unfairness and injustice of it all, poor, poor, me. Then, I was inspired to get in my walk while I waited. I work in a large room. It is great for walking. This is what I discovered--85 steps is how long I had between each book being accepted by the computer before I could click the next one. I easily finished my 10,000 steps working on that order until 6pm that night. But, when I finished I felt tired and happy instead of so frustrated I could crawl out of my skin. Part of patience/ impatience is using time wisely and not just sitting and waiting or clicking as the case may be.
When I reflected on the meaning of that experience with my evening prayers, I was reminded that this was an exercise in patience. Patience doesn't always mean sitting and waiting. Patience can be an active multi-tasking exercise as well. Patience, that is my lesson this year. I am waiting for good things to happen, waiting in hopeful expectation. (But, I am also keeping busy.)