How to Wait Well

Suzette BrawnerElvis, impatience, patience, persevere, press on, wait

In school, along with English 101 and American History, How To Wait Well should be required. I’m not sure the title is proper or correct, but if it was called How To Be A Good Waiter, things could get real confusing.

I’ll admit, I stink when it comes to being gracious when waiting is involved. Recently, though, Droid kept me calm and helped me endure 15 minutes in the express lane at the Super Center. Since there was obviously nothing express about it, I was able to check and reply to all my email and as a bonus catch up on reading the magazines in the check out line.

I’ve made an unsettling discovery about myself while waiting; I want everything to happen my way, on my schedule, which means sooner than later. Obviously, I don’t wait well. A few days ago I wanted so desperately to throw in the towel and just go sit down. I’m tired of waiting. Quitting is so tempting, not just in Walmart, but in several areas of my life.

The next day I found myself waiting again, this time at Jiffy Lube. I’d already checked email and there wasn’t a rack of magazines to distract me to, so I flipped through an app on Droid that I’d stumbled across. It offered important facts like, “The 7-Eleven Extreme Gulp is 50% bigger than the human stomach!” and “Punctuation was not invented until the 1500’s.” But I stopped and reread the next one three times: “Elvis Presley made a ‘C’ in 8th grade music.” Really?

Elvis making a ‘C’ in music falls into the category of Michael Jordan being cut from the high school freshman basketball team … absurd! As weird as it sounds, reading that was comforting in a strange way. Everyone has to wait.

Timing is involved in most things in life, whether it’s shooting a 3 pointer, holding a note or potty training. If they’re rushed, it’s usually disastrous. Maybe we have to wait because it’s just not quite the right time or we need more practice. Maybe there’s a specific reason we’re unaware of for the wait.

The plastic molded chair at the Jiffy Lube is a perfect place to think. I wondered how many others had sat right where I was, teetering on giving up on one thing or another. I smiled and determined myself to press on. I also considered how the 8th grade music teacher felt in 1954 when she heard Elvis on the radio for the first time.

If you think about it, quitting requires no special talent. History repeatedly confirms that those who succeed in life are the ones who refuse to sit down and quit. Last week I realized I’m not making a ‘C’ in waiting, I’m flunking. What’s interesting is, in order to wait better, I’ll have to experience more waiting to learn how. So if you see me in the express lane with Droid in hand you’ll know I’m doing my homework.