Waiting patiently for that phone call
Isn't it amusing that of the 535 senators and representatives we have in our congress, nearly every one claims to have a "common sense" approach to the problems facing our country. Common sense is defined broadly enough, apparently, to include sh...
Isn’t it amusing that of the 535 senators and representatives we have in our congress, nearly every one claims to have a “common sense” approach to the problems facing our country. Common sense is defined broadly enough, apparently, to include shutting down the government or immediately declaring war on Iran to preempt them from developing weapons of mass destruction - just as we did in Iraq 11 years ago.
Actually, common sense is rare in congress, and indeed, rare all over the world. Just read the papers. I used to think I had common sense, but I’ve proven over and over that I don’t - although I’m not going to spell out the particulars.
Even as rare as common sense is the notion of “waiting patiently.” I am waiting for a phone call right now - have been waiting for quite a while - and I’m afraid I’m not waiting patiently. I may appear calm (although no one is watching me now), but I don’t feel calm. I’m waiting and I’m jittery.
There is a long and unending history of waiting impatiently. Recently, the press reminded us daily for two weeks or so that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, would be announcing an indictment or non-indictment in the case involving policeman, Darren Wilson, in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. We waited and waited and waited. The press wasn’t patient and neither was anybody else who had an interest in the case. Almost nobody has ever been patient while waiting for a verdict. Go to a courthouse sometime and observe the people in the halls and waiting rooms while the jury is deliberating.
Do you remember the countdown in the days before your children and grandchildren were born? A few generations ago, the typical scene in maternity ward waiting rooms was a nervous father pacing back and forth while chain-smoking one cigarette after another. Today, the smoking isn’t allowed and fathers are almost discouraged from waiting around. But wherever they are, smoking or not, it’s almost guaranteed they’re not waiting patiently.
By the way, the phone still hasn’t rung.
But why should I be impatient when all around me people are waiting for serious and dramatic news? When will I hear the results of my biopsy? Is my wife/daughter/granddaughter pregnant? Will I be accepted by the university? Will the tests show I have Alzheimer’s? What is the latest from my granddaughter in Ethiopia? My son is in combat in Afghanistan and I’m impatient to hear the latest reports - every day. Will I get that job I’ve applied for - I was supposed to hear yesterday? Can we harvest that crop before the hail gets here? Kids understand impatience: when is my baby sister going to be born? When is Santa Claus coming?
What are the symptoms of impatience? Looking at my watch every three minutes, checking my phone every two minutes, constant texting, pacing, looking out the window, checking the mail before it’s due, calling, bugging, pestering, too many questions, shifting in my chair, can’t sleep, can’t rest, sullen silence and depression. All of the above repeated over and over.
Waiting quietly is not the same as waiting patiently. I have been thanked for waiting patiently when I wasn’t patient at all, I had just been quiet. Common sense would tell anyone that waiting patiently is healthier and less stressful than waiting impatiently, but how many of us have that common sense? Furthermore, understanding patience and actually having it are two different matters.
Still, no phone call. Maybe I could move things along if I call in and leave my name again.
Who can be patient? Sometimes I think only nature knows how.