There is a prayer which goes like this… ‘Lord please grant me patience, and I want it now!’ It is always a challenge to remain patient when time is slipping away. Getting stuck in traffic can really test our patience, even though there is nothing much we can do about it. Last week I was inching my way through Box Hill – in fact the traffic was hardly moving. There were many cars before me and just as many behind me. There was also a line of cars in a side street wanting to join Whitehorse Road. I allowed one in and a second, sensing this was his chance, also entered Whitehorse Road.
This was all too much for the driver behind me. He started blasting his horn – in my rear view mirror I could see that his hands were in the air in complete exasperation and he had the look of someone who had just learned that all his tyres had punctures! He was clearly in no mood to hear me extol the virtues of kindness or patience. At first opportunity he aggressively pulled out from behind me – the thought of following a ‘do gooder’ who wants to let everyone in was simply beyond his ability to cope with. Interestingly, I pulled up next to him after three more sets of lights. In the meantime he had probably expended much emotional energy and stress, and for what purpose?
There are some things we can change, but there are some we simply have to accept, even though we don’t like it. Heavy traffic is one of those things that we cannot change. Then we have a choice – become impatient/stressed or remain calm. Neither response will change our situation, but it will make a big difference to how we cope and feel about it. Patience is acknowledged as one of the virtues Christians should demonstrate in their lives. Patience is developed when we see the bigger picture, when we accept that how we respond is actually more important than the circumstances we are in, and that patience can only be developed under stress and pressure.
May God’s peace be with you throughout this first week of Spring, which is a reminder to us all that creation is in no hurry or under stress to produce blossom or flowers.
Senior School Chaplain