As I peered at my neighbors’ porch I noticed instead of a front door they had a large piece of scrap wood pushed up against the house. I know my neighbors well enough so that I was quite confident that they would not board up their house and abandon it to whatever drug dealer might want to set up shop in our neighborhood.
So when I spotted the lady of the house outside, I flagged her down. It turns out she had grown tired of looking at the weathered aspects of her front door, and took it down to re-sand and re-paint it. But the re-painting took multiple coats. And she stressed how important it was to let the paint dry COMPLETELY, lest you end up with red paint all over your weather-stripping, but not on the door. About that time she decided that the dog scratches on the interior side of the door were intolerable, so they might as well flip it over and work on that. Her husband applied the final coat on that side and she was unhappy with his handiwork…but she was getting tired of not having a front door…
It all sounded like a lesson in patience. We have fast food. We went from snail mail to e-mail to instant messaging. You can get your hair cut or your oil changed without an appointment. You can get your cable TV hooked up this afternoon and your dry cleaning will be ready tomorrow.
But if you’re lying in a hospital bed trying to recover from septic shock from a tick bite, everybody is just going to have to wait. We wait in hospital rooms and waiting rooms. We wait in traffic on the way to the hospital. We wait for test results to come back identifying the infection as ehrlichiosis. We wait to talk to the doctor or the nurse. We wait for the sedative to take effect, and then we wait for it to wear off.
Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s mandatory.