This crazy episode in all our lives as we practice social distancing and sheltering in place calls for oodles of patience.
Unfortunately, patience, that blessed fruit of the Spirit, has fallen out of fashion. In this country we’ve come to demand almost instant gratification and to expect quick solutions to every problem.
Sitting at home waiting for things to get back to normal isn’t easy.
This is especially difficult in light of our American can-do, entrepreneurial character. It’s in our creative nature to try to improve things. We are always striving to make things bigger, better, faster, etc. This drive has resulted in the amazing life we share.
However, in situations beyond our control, we have a tendency to become critics. If we can’t fix this, at least we can complain, right? Despite having little experience in dealing with such an extraordinary circumstance, we can offer our own brilliant insights and facile quick fixes, while loudly pointing out the perceived failures of those tasked with getting us all through.
Perhaps surprisingly, that reaction is seldom helpful. Our sniping only adds to an already stressful situation and makes us even more frustrated.
Patience is a virtue requiring practice to perfect. It helps to remember that the only thing we have total control over is our own response to circumstances. We can choose to impotently rail against the situation, or we can decide to be content with what we cannot change.
And we can opt to use our innate creativity to help when an opportunity presents itself. We can be strict in our compliance with social distancing to help halt the spread of this insidious disease. We can check on elderly family or neighbors and offer to include their list of needs in our periodic shopping excursions. The opportunities are endless if we are willing to set aside our own annoyance and free up our creative thought.
The Apostle Paul understood about suffering and learned how to carry on with his life without wasting his limited energies on frustration and despair.
11 … for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.Philippians 4:11 (ESV)