The older I get, the less patience I have at certain times. Seems like when the issue is insignificant, I tend to lose my patience more quickly. Usually it's only apparent to me, or at least I try to keep it to myself. So mostly I find myself annoyed when I'm driving.
Some people drive too fast, and I complain to myself how dangerous it is. Some drive too slowly, and then I wonder if they ever manage to get anywhere at all. Some cut me (or others) off, weave in and out of traffic, and don't look either direction in parking lots.
Now I know I need to corral that inner Zen of mine, take deep breaths and just relax. And I am working on it. I sure don't like the impatient side that keeps trying to frequently pop out. In the spirit of assisting me in my quest, the reality of life steps in now and then and smacks me quietly but effectively in the face.
Like today. I stopped for gas at one of our local stores. As I pulled back into the parking lot on my way to the street, the car ahead of me stopped. A small pickup truck had halted traffic in front of us, as if it wanted to pull into a parking space to the left, and it was halfway there.
I'm used to that happening. Sometimes drivers will wait forever for someone to leave a spot so they can snag it. Fine, unless there are forty other spaces a bit further away. But this little truck was blocking us, the cars coming toward us, and all indications seemed the purpose was to wait for a space.
I'm ashamed to admit I was quite irritated with that driver. Why did he or she have to block our way, make us wait all this time, just to save a few steps? Then the truck pulled forward toward the space, which I noticed was empty, but didn't pull into it. I wondered if he knew how to maneuver. Yes, I was silently snarky.
The delay wasn't more than 30 seconds. Seriously. All my griping for such a short amount of time. And once that truck pulled forward, it was only blocking the oncoming lane, and we could pull around it. So we did.
Once I got past it, I was instantly smacked by the universe. The little truck was waiting for the parking space, but the car next to it had an open door. And on the passenger side of that car, there was a man lifting a little girl into a small wheelchair.
Talk about humbling. I was grumbling and fussing over my delay of a few seconds, and the driver of the truck was kind and patient enough to wait until the man could put his daughter into her chair and then close the door.
Even though no one had a clue how impatient I was, or how I was ranting quietly to myself about inconsiderate drivers, I was ashamed that I jumped to conclusions. And then I realized even if there had been no wheelchair and little girl, why should I get so upset about a short delay for someone who was trying to park? It was so silly.
I remembered when my kids were in driver's education, and how tentatively they started out on the road. During that time I was so patient with other drivers, especially young ones, thinking that maybe they were just being very careful due to inexperience.
Who am I to judge? If someone is not directly and unnecessarily endangering my life, why can I not give that person the benefit of the doubt?
It's really hard to write and post this on my blog, because I feel like I should be a better person than this. By posting, I might reinforce that virtual slap across my face I received today. Maybe I'll be calmer, kinder, less rushed. Maybe I'll learn, once again, the contentment and peace that comes with patience.