The notion of patience is a tricky one, and we’re given endless opportunities to confront and explore our emotions surrounding it. In the broadest sense, or perhaps on a good day, I consider myself the patient sort. I don’t generally start to get agitated in cues, looking for an alternative path or finding fault in the speed of those before me. And yet sometimes . . . these less than generous impulses arise.
I was at an airport recent that was being suddenly evacuated. The entire airport was pushed out into the carpark instead of onto our waiting and empty airplanes. Not being a fan of crushing or panicked crowds, I hung back a bit and made it outside without any hassle or drama. An hour later as the siren was silenced, folks started moving towards the opened airport doors. A queue of thousands was rather haphazardly formed, and then didn’t move. The airport security screening line (yes, one) had to be activated and staffed.
For the first 30 minutes or so I entertained myself with the conversations surrounding me, random birds alighting and then, with a great playlist thru my earbuds. However, I found myself starting to get a bit annoyed with someone’s perfume so I moved forward slightly. And then I noticed the sun really start to heat up so I moved around the crowd again, in a forward direction, and into a bit of shade. Of course this put me next to a crying toddler, so I had no choice but to move forward and out of ear shot. The crowd was still at a stand still, yet somehow I had managed to move from the very back of the pack into the front 1/3. This gradual progression of mine continued until I found myself near the very front of hopeful passengers.
Once onboard I reflected on the situation and my behavior and truly had to laugh. My mind had almost sought out random bits in the crowd that were then turned into annoyances to be avoided.
The very next day I was traveling along a very crowded footpath with a bottle neck leading to a set of stairs. An eager surfer was running towards the stairs and stopped just short to let several people in front of him pass first. He was happy to let me pass, but I stopped, made eye contact, and motioned for him to move forward instead. It was an incredibly small and fleeting moment, but JOY shined through.
So, when was the last time you felt JOY alongside being impatient, feeling rushed or slightly annoyed? Can you flip it? Can you catch yourself in those tiny moments of being impatient and just stop? I reckon patience might just be another little path to JOY.