We Are All Human (a lesson in patience)

Today, I spent an hour waiting in the reception room of the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor.  A couple months ago, I got a massive internal ear infection which caused me to temporarily lose part of my hearing; today was a follow-up appointment to ensure that the infection was no longer present.

After checking me in, the nurse at reception went out to lunch and returned an hour later to find me still there, waiting to see someone.  I guess nobody in the back checked to see if I was there and forgot about my appointment.  When they finally realized, they brought me back, only to discover, to their horror, that the doctor had just stepped out to take his own lunch as well.

I didn’t really mind waiting, it never really bothered me, and I smiled each time someone came in and apologized for making me wait.

I laughed with the head nurse as I reminded her that none of us are perfect, we are all human and prone to make mistakes.

Years ago I asked God to teach me patience, and I think it may have been the worst ideas that I’ve ever had.  When you ask God to teach you something, especially patience, he will put you in situations where you have the opportunity to learn.  He doesn’t just suddenly teach you and you now have some sort of all knowing powerful knowledge.  It’s just not something that you wake up and know.

I was never a patient person.  And then I went to Africa.  TIA: This Is Africa or, better yet, Time Is Absent.  If you’ve ever been to Africa, you know that nothing goes according to plan, especially if it has to do with arriving at a specific location at any given time.

In Uganda, we were invited to a soccer game that was supposed to start at 1000, but our ride didn’t arrive until after lunch, closer to 1330.  We arrived before the away team even made it onto the field.

When I headed over to Togo too join up with the Africa Mercy and Mercy Ships, my flight was delayed over an hour and my layover was cut down to nothing, I literally had to run through the terminal (and across the tarmac) to make it to my flight (which happened to be delayed as well).  Even after I arrived in Togo, I found that the driver to take me to the ship wasn’t there to pick me and the girl that I traveled with up.  Almost four hours later, the Mercy Ships land cruiser showed up outside the terminal to pick us up.

In AmeriCorps, things change on a constant basis.  I changed teams.  Got pulled off of projects to race off on Disaster Response.  Hurry up and wait became the day to day occurrence, especially responding alongside FEMA with FEMA Corps.  As Team Leader, my Corps Members pulled every string and pushed every button, but I couldn’t walk out on them.

Patience is part of the journey that I have learned.

Yes, I get frustrated.  I get angry.  I still find myself boiling on the inside, but I have learned to roll with the punches and go with the flow and whatever is thrown at me each day.

We each make mistakes, as my team will attest to, but I’ve been fortunate to have people supporting me, allowing me to have a second (and third, fourth, fifth, etc.) chance at getting things right.  I’ve learned that making mistakes is what makes us human, it’s not wrong, it’s part of learning.  Part of living.

I believe everyone should pray for patience, when the time is right for them to learn.  Learn to smile and be polite when things don’t always go as planned.  Laugh when it seems like the world is plotting against you (because it probably is).

Just some thoughts…


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