September 3, 2013

Please Wait.

The other day I was logging into my online banking when two little words flashed across the screen. Please wait... They were actually followed by an ellipsis (a.k.a. the over-used dot-dot-dot). As I stared at those words "Please wait..." I felt myself getting more and more frustrated as the page took longer and longer to load.

My frustration in this situation was not a high point for me, nor am I proud of it. However, I do think it served as an important reminder to me that patience is not a virtue I have in abundance.

I could say that this is a character flaw of mine. Or I could blame a society that tells me faster is better. Or I could blame my spotty Internet connection or the fact that my bank is known to have online issues.

Instead of laying blame (since it's probably a combination of all those things), I got to thinking about why waiting seems so hard. I believe waiting is a challenge because we think something better is on the other side of it, thus making our current situation seem less than in some way. In fact, the dictionary actually says that use of the three dot ellipses is meant to show an incomplete statement, specifically when used online it means "there is more to come."

We're so conditioned to think the 'more' that is coming will be better than what's in front of us now. Or maybe it's just me. Thus, we (I) have trouble finding true contentment in the waiting because it doesn't seem good enough.

I've blogged in the past about how I have trouble living in the moment...I'm constantly finding myself looking ahead, pining for the what's next instead of savoring the right now.

I had a great exercise in patience this past weekend when the contractors coming to install my new carpet were more than 6 hours late. I'm not proud to say I got frustrated. Looking back, I realize my frustration didn't help the situation. In the end, everything got worked out and the delay didn't have any lasting negative effects. In the meantime, I actually got to spend some quality time with my parents and southern beau, a highlight of which included my dad's iPhone trying to decipher my mom's southern dialect. Isn't that usually the case? The little gems we would have normally missed present themselves when we can stop pushing so hard to go forward and just be in the present.

I don't have as much patience as I'd like, but I'm getting there.

Are you what others might call a patient person? I'd love to know your secret!