I’ve Lost My Patience

The dictionary defines patience as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Right after I read that? A pop-up appeared for the word tolerance — the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with. I think those two, patience and tolerance, have to go hand in hand, or there’s gonna be trouble in River City, so to speak.

Not an hour ago, I attempted to put new printer cartridges in my fancy printer. My tolerance was low and my patience was waning fast. After paying a good sum of money on second-hand printer cartridges, I discovered that my fancy printer, after software updates, will only accept the name-brand expensive printer cartridges, so I can return the second-hand stuff and reorder the fancy printer cartridges. Wait a few more days for the new fancy cartridges to arrive from Amazon – the true god of all shopping. You have to turn the printer off, rerun the software, and on the third or fourth try, your printer will tell you that it doesn’t recognize your new fancy cartridges, just turn the thing off and re-enter the software. If patience had a level, 10 being you have lots of it and 1 means it’s gone, I’m at about a 7 at this point. I kept trying this for, oh, 45 more minutes and I got several more printer messages. My printer talks to me with messages that test my tolerance. Patience level? Fast becoming a 5. It’s time to walk away from the printer and make fresh (decaffeinated) coffee, because I know that when I return, I will feel better.

When my son was in junior high school, I attended his parent/teacher conference, and one of his teachers greeted me with, “Oh, you’re the mom who threw the printer into the swimming pool.” Oh, how could he tattle on me to his junior high teacher like that? I was so embarrassed and had to admit that yes, I really did that, and after my son dished that printer out of the pool, it worked like a dream. It’s pretty hard to justify that childish behavior to your son’s new teacher. It’s a good thing I no longer have a swimming pool – but I do have a window in my office that opens to the great outdoors. I know when to walk away from this printer.

Like most scenarios in life, everything returns to normal after you give yourself time to step away and re-evaluate the situation. I came back to the printer, updated the software, read a zillion more messages, realized that I am not smarter than this software, the printer finally likes me, makes whizzing noises, sends me happy messages, and prints my pretty color pages again. It’s okay now. Calm is restored. Patience level back to a 9. Thank you, Folgers Coffee, for getting me through this.

We need patience in every aspect of our lives. Just yesterday I had to have lots of it in dealing with an edgy co-worker. I needed patience and tolerance when I got a letter advising my insurance rates are going up again. God just has a way of taking care of all of my needs in ways I don’t even know yet. Two days after I got the notice of my mortgage insurance rate hike? The insuror sent me a check for $400 as a refund that I didn’t know I was getting. The things in life that I seem to lose patience over just aren’t all that important anyway. When I’m driving and I get impatient with the slow driver in front of me, I have to stop and wonder if maybe by driving so slow behind this guy, I have averted an accident that I may have had up ahead. Again, the Christian glass has to be half full and not half empty.

I look back in time and realize how lucky and how blessed I am to have all these nice material things. Right out of college, I lived in a cold, dank, dark basement apartment. The rent was $135.00 per month, and I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed every square floor tile in the bedroom until it shined. It was my first apartment on my own and I was so proud of it. There was a piece of shag carpeting in the living room on a cement floor with no padding under it – but I painted the walls and made it clean and I was happy. I did not even dream that I might have a nice home some day, with a nice office, and beautiful surroundings, and this fancy schmancy printer. I’m grateful for the blessings, and hope and pray that I learn to have more patience.