Thursday, November 8, 2007

Life Lessons: Chapter 1 - Patience

Today my patience was tested.

I didn't feel well and was out running a work errand in a relatively unfamiliar area when I realized the entrance ramp to get back on the expressway was closed. I figured I'd just go back the way I came. No such luck. Thinking I had found my way, I turned up my tunes and enjoyed the scenery and then out of no where, I was on a dirt road. In the middle of metro Detroit. How could that have happened? I'm looking at my Michigan map in the 5 p.m. darkness, trying to weave through traffic and squinting with my bad eyes to see the road signs ahead and I have no clue where I am. I can't even tell if I'm going east or west. I scold myself - I should have gotten directions to get home, not just to get there... I feel my eyes well up with tears... it's a frustrating feeling to be lost when you're only 25 miles from your home. And all I wanted was to be home with a bowl of soup.

Just as I was approaching all-out rage, I was reminded of a story I read this week in a Catholic magazine called "Faith." The story, written by Father Bill (who is marrying Jason and I actually), discussed how patience truly is a virtue and gives us the ability to endure many things, including life's little inconveniences (like getting lost).

Here's the story in my own words:
There's a woman who took care of her husband who was suffering with Alzheimer's disease. She had to keep a close eye on him in case he wandered off and forgot where/who he was.

The disease had taken a toll on her, but it was important to her to keep her vows she had made to him many years ago - "I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until death do us part."

One day, her husband, not thinking clearly, got into some magazines and books she had just organized. Frustrated, she got angry and yelled at him and stormed out of the room to cool off.

Moments later, her husband wandered in to where she was stewing with her anger and said, "There you are my dear. It's so good to see you. Hey, if you go into the den, be careful. There is a strange woman in there and she is mad!"

She immediately was hit with a sense of his love and forgave him. What a humorous way to be reminded of the importance of patience. Her husband didn't recognize her as the “angry” woman. He remembered her as his patient and loving wife.

Recalling this story while I was frustrated driving was a blessing. Crying or getting ticked off wasn't going to help me navigate – just like anger wasn’t going to cure the woman in the story’s husband from his horrible disease. I just needed to take a deep breath, laugh at myself for not being armed with better directions, turn up my music and enjoy the scenery.

No comments: