Waiting is a requirement in life, patience while waiting is a gift. 

I am spending my afternoon waiting in the Hyundai dealership for an oil change and to get my snow tires off (I know it’s mid-May, don’t judge me).  Best guess is I will be waiting for about two hours.  I could get a taxi or an Uber and go home and wait there, but I’d still be waiting.  So, I brought my computer, a book and a bottle of water.  I came prepared for what could be a long afternoon of waiting.

When you stop and think about it, we do a lot of waiting during a day.  We wait for traffic lights to change, drive thrus to move, and grocery store lines to clear.   We wait for a response to a text or email, we wait for the oven to heat up, or the pot to boil.  We wait for commercials to end and we wait for shows or sport events to begin. 

Waiting is a part of life, we can’t change it, but how we choose to wait is on us.  

We can wait patiently, we can also wait creatively (that’s when you knit during the intermission of a hockey game).Or, we can wait poorly, like when you make deep sighs for everyone to hear and shift in your seat and look like you’re about to have an aneurysm.  I’m convinced that people who wait poorly cause stress not only to themselves, but to everyone around them. 

The American evangelist Charles Stanley once said, “our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on the object we’re waiting for.”  That’s a good quote. If we are waiting for a delicious gourmet dinner to be served, we are more likely to wait patiently and graciously than we would wait for a TV dinner to heat up in the microwave.  But it’s true of people too.  If we love and value someone, we will be more patient and understanding with them, and more forgiving if we are waiting for them. On the other hand, if the neighbour that neve returned our hammer is taking forever to cut his or her lawn, we might become impatient and call the city on him (not that anyone would do that, it really isn’t nice, plus the city has more important things to worry about.  Potholes). 

There is a great anecdotal story about elevators in New York City in the years following World War 2.  As skyscrapers were built ever taller, people had to wait longer and longer for elevators to get them to their floors.  There were non-stop complaints from people who didn’t want to wait for an elevator.  Engineers were brought in to see if they could fix the problem by making elevators faster.  They could not, and declared that people just needed to exercise more patience.  As you can imagine, that just elevated (pun intended) everyone’s frustration.  A psychologist came along and decided that the problem was not that those waiting were impatient, it was that they were bored.  So, in a New York City skyscraper, mirrors were installed around the elevator so that people could look at themselves and others while they waited.  Within days of installing the mirrors the complaints in that building all but stopped.  And that is why mirrors are installed around elevators today, so that we won’t be bored while we wait. I’m still waiting.  Still patiently.  But at least I’m not bored.  Not only do I have a computer and a book, but I can overhear the chatter going on 10 feet away on the showroom floor.  Someone is upset because he came to pick up his new car and it’s not ready.  He needs a mirror, or a pair of knitting needles.