Patience Is A Virtue

Yesterday morning I waited for my bank to open to get a new debit card. I noticed a fraudulent charge while balancing my account after work and immediately shut the card down. It nice that there are bankers waiting to talk to me in the middle of the night when my waitressing gig ends. Like Jake, from State Farm.

After the bank opened, I waited for the bankers to settle into their desks. Then, I waited for the first customer to be seen. Then, I waited for the man after me to be seen. He required a Spanish-speaking attendant. That was ok. I was enjoying a cup of coffee. Then Susan came in, sat down, and was soon ushered back for her banking need to be tended to. She mentioned she wasn’t a customer of the bank but needed to cash a check. Finally, Hasan noticed me [staring] at him and asked, “Can I help you?”

It was a simple oversight and I didn’t need to cause a fuss. It gave me time to think about the day before and an encounter I couldn’t seem to shake from my mind.

What happened really was something I could shake off on a normal day. But there was something I needed to get out of this experienced to teach me a bit more about letting go. We had just covered the unit of forgiveness and letting go in our Biblical Counseling meeting Monday night. It was giving me the chance to walk the talk.

I’ve been scheduled a fairly solid week at the restaurant. Outside work, I have a few other irons in the fire as well. On the days I work a split shift, I appreciate the hour or two I have for personal time before I pick up my daughter from school. Recently, there has been some discord with my coworkers who have been getting tables near the end of their 11-2 o’clock shift. Monday was an especially bad day as many folks were off work for Columbus Day and we had a surge of late lunch diners. Tuesday, the young and the restless were ready to pounce on the floor manager if they couldn’t break out for their split. I am trying to lead by example and be gracious for the tables I am offered. Wednesday, I was put to the test–

I was seated with a group of four sweet, elderly woman at 1:45. Three were sisters and all had beautiful Puerto Rican accents. They were from all over the U.S. and really were a delight to serve. They dined at a moderate pace so I wasn’t able to leave for my break until 3:45. This gave me just 15 minutes to get to the post office and bank before picking up my daughter from school. It was manageable but wasn’t going to afford me time to catch up on reading or write as I hoped to.

On this short break, I had my encounter. The man reminded me of Bill Gates. He drove a white Honda Civic and seemed to be intelligent. Unfortunately, he was aimless. Lost perhaps. He was in the alleyway that leads to my bank drive-thru. I waited for him to find his way. When he got to the alley intersection, he still blocked my way to the bank so I couldn’t go around him.

I waited. I didn’t honk my horn nor offer a hand gesture to suggest which way he should go.

He decided to turn left. My direction. Then, his car slowly turned left again and started a U-Turn, completely blocking the drive-thru lanes. Still, I didn’t honk. I didn’t hand gesture. I did say to myself. In my car. To myself. Quietly. Not yelling. “Please let me go around you!”

That’s when he said it to me…


“Patience is a virtue.”

He parked his car and I proceeded to the drive-thru and parked my car. I couldn’t believe he made this sarcastic comment after I just spent a minute I didn’t have to spare watching him navigate his way.

Since he looked unarmed with little more than a pocket protector on his person, I decided to take a moment from my already blown schedule to confront. I was flabbergasted he made an assessment about me and my needs then offered his brand of wisdom. Perhaps he was a preacher and thought I needed a  proverbial lesson to get me through the rest of my week. Perhaps he needed enlightenment himself.

It didn’t go well.

He walked gazing at his phone– either wrapped up in a game of Words With Friends or studying a map trying to find an address, wondering why it took him down the alley.

He spoke in droneful sentences, spinning the entire debacle around while spinning me around in circles looking for all my buttons to press. He did. It was hard to maintain virtues of kindness and self-control as he made ridiculous excuses for making me wait for him and not using his turn signal to clue me into where he was going. The epitome of ridiculous was the comment that his Honda was nicer than my car so I “shouldn’t be overly concerned that he was backing into me”. I have used quotes to indicate he actually said those exact words [in his droning voice]. I walked away, returned to my car, shaking with frustration over what just happened. All I hoped to achieve was to have a human to human exchange so he might have the chance to see who I was beyond the stereotype he chose to assume.

Remember, even though he backed toward my car, my horn never honked. This is an important detail to my state of mind. All things considered in my day, I was being a ‘virtuous’ woman.

As I often do, I wrote a Facebook status about the encounter, just to get it off my chest. Sometimes I don’t post my venting. This day, I posted as I waited for my daughter to emerge from school then deleted it 20 blocks later when I arrived back at work for my evening shift. Writing helped me to stop shaking.

I’ve given this encounter more real estate on my mind than it deserved but I wanted to write it out to let it go. That sounds counterproductive but it is serving a purpose.

No, I don’t truly believe the guy in the white Honda Civic will read my blog and come forward to talk it out with me. The dude likely went on his way thinking he was as entitled as ever and the world is too much in a hurry.

My reading for my Biblical Counseling class is often convicting. How can I walk folks through the trials of life being so ridiculously human? Will I ever be a virtuous woman or a just a stumbling example of humanity?

The takeaway I want to communicate today is to encourage the virtues of kindness and grace as we stumble through life together. Yes, patience is a still a virtue too, as well as self-control. It takes all the good virtues to counteract the unsavory habits we’ve nurtured since mankind first started attempts to coexist.

I am trying to shed the old, impatient me. The girl who flips out over petty, insignificant stuff. I’m trying to have wider gaps in my schedule so my hand isn’t holding my head in frustration when I drive. So it can be extended to let another driver go ahead of me or hold a door for someone behind me.

The gaps have offered me opportunities to see folks around me more than ever before. As I’ve been afforded the opportunity to expand my vision, my peripheral view isn’t yet 360 degrees. Yet, I’m hopeful the world can expand its vision to see more of what’s happening around ourselves. Sadly, with our handheld devises increasingly more in our faces, we’ve become more self-focused than ever.

We need to change our focus to expand our vision. Who will start first in our ‘me first’ culture?

I’m going to need to start driving on the high road more often. I hear the view from there is incredible!

I hope the guy in the Honda wasn’t a pastor and I’m his comical opener for this Sunday’s message. If so, then I do hope he reads my blog. We all need the higher road perspective to become a virtuous society.

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