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Changing the World One Monday at a Time (Part 6)

I’ve been gone for a while. Okay, several months. And I would love to give some amazing excuse as to why that is, but the truth is, life got busy. And something I noticed about myself when life gets busy, my patience level plummets.

On Saturday, while I was driving to work, I managed to get behind a funeral procession on a four-lane highway (not a divided one, either). Now, I don’t know what the traditions in your part of the country are, but I was taught by my grandfather that when you encounter a procession, you show respect. Which means, if you are head toward a procession, you pull over. If you are behind a funeral procession, unless there is a medical emergency ...

Yep, that about sums it up.

Is it a pain when you’re running late to work? Yes, but seriously, the people in the processional are burying someone they care deeply about. It all comes down to respect.

So back to Saturday. I am in the lane next to the procession, about two car lengths behind the last car and neck in neck with the car behind them. A silver truck is on my tail, flashing lights, etc. And I have to admit that my first reaction was to get out of his way or abandon my upbringing and pass the mourners. By law, I wouldn’t have been doing anything wrong. But sometimes it is best to go beyond the law.

Now, it is possible that this guy didn’t know what was going on. I know it took me a few seconds when I first got behind the line, but if everyone on one side of the road is pulling off to the side and everyone in your lane of traffic is going REALLY slow, perhaps that’s a good indicator that there is something you need to clue into. Instead of following the lead of everyone around us, the driver behind me pulled around me INTO THE ONCOMING TRAFFIC LANE, and sped past the line of cars only to be stopped by the police escort at the upcoming intersection.

At first, I was so angry at that person for being disrespectful and selfish. After all, the rest of us had places to be. But then I stopped myself because being mad at someone I don’t know is a waste of my energy. But it did get me thinking about something I need to work on: patience.

I am so impatient that I honestly could go pro, or at least compete at the Olympic level. I hate waiting for things to happen. But that impatience is making me crazy right now. It’s making me anxious as I wait for reviews to come in. It’s making me short with my children when I should be relishing the warm days of summer with them. It’s making me easily distracted and stressed out.

All because there are things I can’t control. Patience is recognizing that life doesn’t always happen in your time. Sometimes it happens with zero regard for what you need. Being forced to slow down really can be a good thing, if you embrace it as a gift, rather than a curse.

So, for the next week, I am going to make a very conscious effort to embrace the moments that call for patience. I know it won’t be easy, but if I can take that opportunity to live in the moment, I just might find a little more time to take care of the things in my life that really matter.

Any tips on what works for you when your patience is running low? I would love to hear ‘em.

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