My high school friends hated to ride with me, because I charged every stop sign. Not to the point of throwing anyone into the dash, but I wouldn’t let off the gas until I had just enough time to make the stop. Why waste precious seconds coasting? I avert my eyes when an elderly person cuts me off in a doorway or grocery store aisle to avoid signaling animosity where there is only impatience. I’m not mad they’re slow, or resentful that I have to wait for them; I just wasn’t prepared to break my stride so abruptly and am ready to resume my mission as soon as they clear the path.
My husband calls me antsy. It drives me nuts to wait behind someone in the self checkout who can’t figure out the scale. I could lose my mind watching someone run an internet search using inefficient search terms. Don’t get me started on sitting through church meetings.
I don’t tailgate or nag, but it’s only because I know how impatient I am. I know that it isn’t fair to the others around me, who need a little more time to get through the doorway, decide what they want to order, or realize it’s their turn at the four way stop. I have a certain practiced calm that is often a required antidote to my natural impatience; I stand back, breathe deeply, and say a prayer of thanksgiving that God has given so many delightful things to do each day that I literally want to race from one to the next; that God’s blessed me with the physical health and quick thinking that make it possible to get my half dozen items and get back out of Walmart in less than ten minutes; that someone stepped in front of me this very instant to remind me to slow down and savor where I am and what I’m doing.
I hear people marvel sometimes that I’m able to keep up with so many demands. My driven nature does allow me to keep up a full plate and I’m grateful for that. But sometimes I know that comes at the cost of making other people feel they’re just a speedbump on my race. It takes deliberate, intentional action for me to reorient my attitude from action and accomplishment toward relationship and connection. Sometimes I need to sacrifice efficiency to leave enough space for humanity, to hear someone’s story, to show someone love; to leave room for Christ to shine.
Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Ephesians 4:2