In December my daughter turned 16, and we went to the PennDOT Driver’s License Center at East Town Mall so she could take her permit test. We walked in the front door, and she received her number from the receptionist. At the far side of the large waiting room, we found seats near the bank of computers used for permit tests. Then we did what you do in waiting rooms. We waited for her number to be called. The system announced number after number over the loudspeakers, as screens displayed the number of the person being served. We waited as other numbers were called, and we waited some more.
I started feeling the need to use the restroom, but I didn’t want to go in case my daughter’s number was called. So our waiting continued, with a growing unsettledness as people around us got up after hearing their number called. We pulled out our phones to keep busy. I thought that I should have brought my laptop to work on my dissertation.
My urge to use the men’s room steadily grew, and I began shifting in my seat like you do when you’re feeling discomfort. We looked around trying to determine if people who arrived after us were having their number called before us. It sure seemed like that was happening. Was something wrong? Did our number get skipped? Should we get up and ask for help?
As the minutes ticked by, I was now becoming very uncomfortable. I got upset with myself, thinking that I should have gone to the restroom when I first felt the urge. I would have been back with plenty of time to spare. Now I was shifting in my seat and bouncing my feet, certain that if I ran to the bathroom now, my daughter’s number would be called while I was away.
Have you been in that situation? Waiting. The DMV is usually a good bet if you want to try your hand at patience. But there are plenty of other experiences in life that force us to wait, often for much, much longer than the DMV. Graduation from grade school is a 12+ year process. Working for retirement usually requires decades. How do you do with waiting? Are you good at it? Or not so good? What, or who, tries your patience?
In our continuing series on the Fruit of the Spirit, we are learning to walk in step with the Spirit, which means growing the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We’ve learned about growing love, joy, and peace, and now this coming week we’ll study what it means to grow patience.
Check back in on Monday, and we’ll get started.