LOVE IS PATIENT
By DANNY MINTON
My day had been going great when I drove into the bank drive-in. There were six lanes open with two cars in each. As I drove up, one car went on through, so I pulled behind the single car. Fifteen minutes later I was still sitting in the same spot. All the other lanes had fulfilled the needs of the two cars in line and were now servicing the second influx of vehicles. By the time I moved up after twenty minutes of waiting, I had seen more than a dozen other cars come and go and I think the leaves started to change on a tree or two.
So, I decided from that point on to do a study of cars in the bank drive-in and see if there was a way to tell which line to choose. Through months of study, I found out there are certain vehicles you avoid.
- Never get behind a pick-up with more than just the driver if it’s full of men. This is probably a construction crew, and each man has to cash his check, and they must all be done separately. Each man in the pick-up equals a car and a half. The half is because it takes longer to do cash transaction than a deposit.
- Never pull up behind an SUV driven by a woman with kids inside. This is probably a mother who is frustrated with everything that is going on and will probably not have her deposit slip ready. And when she’s done, she’ll have to send the carrier back because all the kids will want a sucker.
- Never pull up behind an automobile with a business sign on the side. These are normally businesspeople who don’t want to go through the commercial line. Their deposits are usually large and take up the time of two or three cars.
- Never get behind a full-size vehicle with someone with gray hair. I fit the gray hair part but don’t drive a full-size vehicle, by the way. These are usually older people who need help filling out their deposit slip. Also, they don’t trust the teller, so they make sure to turn off their engine and count all the cash before they leave. It also takes longer to get the driver’s license back in their wallet.
- Never, ever, pull up behind someone who is shaking his head. This means he knows what he wants and why he’s here. He’s done his duty by filling out his deposit slip, added everything correctly, and just wants to get through. He’s shaking his head because the teller is new and has no idea what he or she is doing and wonders why the person on the driver license picture has different color hair.
So, having all this knowledge I pulled into the drive-in, studied the situation and pulled up behind a vehicle that met my new criteria and proceeded to wait while all the other cars in all the other lanes went through before I did. It was at that moment I realized I needed to work on the one factor I had left out; my lack of patience.
Patience is a virtue that almost everyone struggles with at some time or another. It’s used 25 times in the New Testament and self-control another five times. The lack of patience is a result of our worrying about things or in many cases, just being in too big a hurry. It comes mostly because we put ourselves in a tight schedule and leave no room for enjoying life around us.
Several years ago, I heard a song by AGAPE that has always stuck with me:
Have Patience, Have Patience
Don’t be in such a hurry
When you get impatient
You only start to worry
That God is patient too
And think of all the times when others
Have to wait for you.
Now when I sit in line at the bank drive-in, I tune to XM Radio Classics and listen to a story while I wait. When I sit in a doctor’s office for two hours past my appointment time, I carry a book to read. When I stand in a long grocery line, I laugh at the tabloid headlines and watch how people react and tell myself, “I use to be one of those.” I’ve learned to give myself an extra hour or two if I’m driving through Dallas on a Friday afternoon at 4 during football season. I will admit I still struggle with being patient with other drivers, but I’m working on it!
But most of all I’ve learned to be more patient with people. They may not move as fast as I want them to, but that’s okay, sometimes I move slowly, myself. They may have a hard time with change when I want it to happen more quickly, but sometimes it takes me longer also. Everyone moves at his own pace, and I should learn to be patient with those all around me that are moving at different speeds whether faster or slower.
Paul said, “Love is Patient.” He said that because people are more important than the entire hullabaloo that goes on around us. Learning to be patient forces us to be more aware of the world around us. Learning to be patient forces us to realize that people are people just like us who have good days as well as bad. Learning to be patient is an act of love.
So next time you feel a little impatience coming on, remember the last line of the little song above, “And think of all the times when others have to wait for you.”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.