If not for patience, I would have missed a moment delivered specifically to me by God, intended to fulfill a wish and, ultimately, bring me Joy.
Losing My Patience – And My Cool
I’m not the most patient person in the world.
Or maybe even my town. I try very hard to be (and I’m sure you do, too) but it seems that often no matter how hard I try, my impatience gets the better of me.
I don’t know where this stems from.
Maybe it’s part of the artist mindset, or maybe it’s because I’ve done over a decade of some type of customer service (over the phone, in chat, in person).
Maybe it’s something else that I know nothing about… can it be hereditary?
In any event – mostly because I’m tired or stressed or just otherwise not getting what I want – impatience will get the best of me, and I will lose my cool.
When you lose your cool, you stop paying attention. You stop being mindful. You stop being humble. (You also find your hot. Right? It seems like that should make sense).
When Patience Disappears
The most common time for my patience to disappear is when it’s late at night, I’ve already had little sleep, and Addison wakes up crying.
I get up, I curse a few times under my breath and pseudo-stomp into my daughter’s room.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I go in there shouting and yelling and freaking out about why she’s waking up and waking me up and on and on… it’s nothing like that (though I’m often thinking it… In fact I can picture myself as though I’m Vince McMahon on a tirade).
It’s really more that my brain is putting most of the focus on resolving the issue so that I can go to sleep, rather than being concerned for her and what’s bothering her.
Typically, once things calm down and she’s good and back to sleep and I’m back in bed, everything’s fine.
But, of course, I feel terrible afterwards because I didn’t handle it like I should have.
I’m working on that. And I know it’s nothing to be ashamed of – as a parent it’s something you have to struggle with on a relatively consistent basis.
Nonetheless, one night, somewhere in the midst of one of these episodes, I had a really illuminating moment.
I was tired. I hadn’t slept much. It was about 2:30 AM.
Addison woke up crying and screaming for Mommy. She was so adamant that she wasn’t only screaming, she’d gotten up and opened her door and was shouting across the hall directly into our bedroom.
I huffed this big giant sigh, noted that Emily wasn’t moving, put my smart phone under her nose to make sure I saw her breath and, satisfied I wasn’t a widower (kind of), got up.
Sidebar: we tend to work on an “if you’re up and the other person is asleep, it’s common sense for you to take care of it” – otherwise known as “Daddy’s turn” – sort of method.
I stomped across the hall to her room, shout-whispering “what is going on?!” and climbed over her gate to get in and close the door.
She was still shouting because she wanted her Mommy, so it was clear that she wasn’t going to go right back to her bed and lay down – she was going to need some time and attention.
I could barely keep my eyes open, so obviously this did not make me happy.
I tried to sort out what was actually wrong but Addie wasn’t going to cooperate. Once she gets into her fits, she rarely does.
I offered to take her to the other big bed (a leather futon in the opposite corner of her room that was currently folded out into a bed), but she insisted that we go cuddle in the rocking chair.
Okay, then… this was going to take a lot longer than I had really wanted it to.
Opening The Door To Joy
I picked her up, took her to the rocking chair in her room and sat down with her in my lap. Within moments she was snuggled up against me sucking her thumb. And, once she was quiet – once I actually stopped and took a deep breath with my little girl cuddled up in my arms – I recalled something.
Earlier in the day, I had told Emily that I was disappointed that now that Addie was a little older (2 and a half) she wasn’t as interested in cuddling or sitting in the rocking chair and just rocking slowly back and forth for a little while. I vividly recall going so far as to say to her, “I wish I could have some quiet time. Just me and her together in that rocking chair. I really miss that.”
You may see where this is going…
While I didn’t necessarily outright pray to God to give me the opportunity to sit and rock with my daughter in the chair, and I certainly didn’t ask to be woken up in the middle of the night to do so, here I was…
…Doing exactly what I had wished to do.
God had heard me. And here was the opportunity that He was providing me.
Don’t Let Impatience Cost An Opportunity To Experience Joy
This is why Patience is such an important part of the Humility process (it is a virtue, after all). Had I remained impatient – had I focused only on the fact that I wanted to get back to sleep – I wouldn’t have taken that deep breath, let the calm come over me and take stock of where I was and what was happening; I wouldn’t have thought back to what I had said to my wife earlier that day; and I wouldn’t have recognized that something I had actually wished for out loud had come true right in that moment.
I would have missed a moment delivered specifically to me by God, intended to fulfill a wish and, ultimately, bring me Joy.
All because of Patience.
That night, once I recognized the wonderful gift I’d been given, rather than be relieved, I was disappointed ten minutes later when Addie looked up at me and said “I’m ready to go back to my bed now, Daddy.”
Suddenly, I wasn’t ready to go back to mine.
I loved that feeling, and I’m so blessed that I got to feel it.
When have you let your impatience cause you to lose your cool? Do you remember a particular instance where you likely missed an opportunity to experience Joy because of it? Was there another time where you remained calm and got to experience that moment of Joy? Share your experience below!
Portions of this article were published in Operation Joy: 30 Daily Missions To Inspire Joy In Yourself & Others.