So, the first day’s challenge was to be patient. This wasn’t too hard, since I’d been at work all day. I left the house at 5:30am, before anyone was awake, and got home at 8:30pm, as the kids were settling down for a long Winter’s sleep. I may not have been patient with my coworkers, colleagues, or patients (no pun intended), but at least I was patient with my wife and kids.
At least until this morning. <sigh> This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I ran into the kitchen to grab something and when I came back into the bathroom, the lights were out. I wasn’t unkind, but I was impatient. Oops.
What’d you turn the lights out for!”
“What’d you turn the lights out for!” I asked with only minor irritation. I wasn’t harsh, I wasn’t mean, and I wasn’t unkind – but it was a momentary lack of patience. The Wife may have completely overlooked it – mostly because it is so like me. But, of course, I failed.
I have come to believe that these small impatient moments stack up and are like throwing rocks at a pane of glass. They may bounce off, or miss their mark, but eventually the window is going to break – the glass will shatter. No one is more precious than my beautiful wife, I don’t want her to break. I have more work to do.
Today’s challenge is in regards to kindness. As the book puts it, “patience avoids a problem, kindness creates a blessing.” This phrase really speaks to me. I lack both – patience and kindness. I want things to happen now, and I don’t really concern myself with how people feel about it – or me. I just want the task to be completed. Now.
For years I’ve admitted that I lack compassion. But only recently I discovered that I’m actually quite compassionate, I just tolerate people who want to be enabled, or continually make foolish choices. In fact, many have accused me of being unkind – and that has always surprised me. I’m a very caring person – really! I think the problem is my impatience. And lately, a tremendous lack of sleep.
The other night I realized that my lack of patience was due to my extreme fatigue. As that dawned on me, it was painfully obvious that one of the best things I can do for my family is to be well rested. So, over the course of the last week, I’ve been getting home from work ASAP and going straight to bed. On the nights I work, this enables me to get a good seven hours sleep; this helps a lot!
As I enter the second day of this journey, I realize that I have much to learn. I am humbled by the prospect of having my character re-made. It is scary, but it is exciting too.