Don’t pray for patience unless you are willing to wait!
I found that out firsthand this past week. Before I preached on the topic of patience last Sunday morning, forces aligned themselves to stretch my patience beyond the breaking point.
Here are three things that crept into my week in order to take my patience to the next level.
(Some of these, or maybe all of them, will seem insignificant, and they are. But if we can’t learn from the little things, we’ll never be prepared for the big things.)
Have you ever tried to contact Facebook? Don’t bother. You will not get a person. You have a slim chance of getting an electronic response.
The church Facebook Page had a problem. Part of our Social Engagement strategy involves asking people to “Check-In” on Facebook when they are on our campus. This accomplishes several things including increased exposure, online community building and help advertising specific events.
For some reason, last Sunday morning, Facebook forgot where First Baptist Nederland was located. No one could Check-In at our location. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. But it was a big enough of a deal that I attempted to correct the problem.
I called. I emailed. I attempted chats. I pounded my desk. The farther I went into this process, the more emotionally entangled I became. I felt like Brer Rabbit fighting the Tar Baby.
I really dig the postal service. 99% of my experience with the mail has been great.
Last week I ordered a pair of fancy shmancy headphones for our upcoming trip to Israel from a seller on eBay. They were shipped on July 9 and scheduled for delivery in July 11. July 11 came and went. Then July 13 came and went (July 12 was a Sunday so there was no expectation for a sabbath delivery). On the 14th I started calling around. These headphones were shipped from Midlothian, Tx. They were sorted in Fort Worth. After being processed in Fort Worth they were sent to Roanoke. And on the 14th, they were out for delivery in Roanoke.
I have to give the USPS credit: they let you talk to a person. You might have to wait for a while, but with sufficient quantities of patience and the proper application of perseverance, you will eventually get in touch with a real person.
The real person I talked to informed me of where my package was and told me she would submit a very important sounding alert that had a reasonable likelihood of getting my package delivered before we left town.
I enjoyed my conversation with the USPS so much on the 14th that I recreated it on the 15th. I was pleased that the previous day’s call had been very effective. The headphones I coveted made their way all the way for Roanoke back to Fort Worth. Basically, they were in delivery purgatory. My hope for an awesome and quiet plane ride experience was disappearing.
I asked USPS to just return them to the seller. “No Problem,” they said. All they had to do was send out another alert and the package would be back at the seller’s address in no time.
I tried to look at it from the most positive light I could. At least I would get my money back.
Driving to Dallas
Hallie went to camp Monday morning. They arrived in Dallas safe and sound. All reports were positive and encouraging. But Tuesday night she got sick: Fever, Cough, Sore Throat, General Malaise.
I decided to go get her.
I left Nederland at 2:30 PM. I arrived back in Nederland at 1 AM. That was a lot more driving than I planned for that Wednesday, but it was worth it.
There is nothing to speed up that trip to Dallas: no shortcuts, no wormholes cut through the fabric of space, no ultra hyper fast lanes to take advantage of. Driving there and back is a practice in perseverance and patience.
Hallie got a shot and some pills the next morning and is doing much better.
How it all Turned Out
I didn’t share all of that with you to dump my disappointments on you. I learned some specific lessons in each of these cases.
The Facebook issue was corrected before I left town. I don’t know if my emails to Palo Alto (where Facebook’s headquarters are located) did any good, but the problem is resolved. I learned, again, to not sweat the small stuff, and this truly was small stuff.
The headphones, well that was interesting. About two minutes after I completely resigned myself to the fact that I was going to experience the usual air-travel deprivations of comfort, I received a text from USPS. They were happy to announce that my package was delivered. I was happy too. I normally would not have been impatient with this order, but since I bought these headphones specifically for our trip to Israel, I was anxious. All the anxiety, and none of my worry, did any good in this case. Even the alerts the kind customer service reps sent out availed nothing. But I’m happy.
And Hallie, Hallie is doing well. She got a shot the next morning and some antibiotics. She is on the mend. She was sad to leave camp but already making plans to be a part of it again next year. The drive was worth it. The perseverance paid off. Parents have lots of opportunities to practice patience.
There was a lot of waiting and worrying and persevering this past week. But everything ended up just as it was supposed to.
The waiting and the persevering were good for me. The worrying was useless. In fact, it was a distraction that kept me from enjoying a lot of other good things that were happening.
At the end of the week, as we all climbed into the car for another long road trip, being together,and happy, and mostly healthy, made all the waiting and persevering worth it.
Need some extra help with Patience? Check out these links:
The Sermon Notes from last week’s message.
Patience on the Road.
Our Erroding Patience.