An Accidental Prayer For Patience

May 9th, 2018

I was at a store, practically pacing in between aisles, trying to find furniture, real dishes (not plastic), and other things I neglected to purchase for my apartment within the last several months of leasing it. The whole day, I felt stressed out and entirely impatient. Finally being able to have real-ish furniture in my apartment was a good thing, but I still felt like screaming, calling it a day, and going home to throw a 5-year-old temper tantrum without anyone else being there to witness it.

I remember standing next to some silverware or maybe some cheap dinnerware sets and thinking about how impatient I was and how I wanted to be less impatient and how I wanted to be a better person, but then I thought "Oh, well you know what they [the people at the church I grew up in] say: if you pray for patience, God is going to make your life harder."

In that moment, I didn't stop the train of thought then and there as usual (as I don't want my life to get hard). In the next moment, for whatever reason, I thought: "Why not embrace that challenge?" and "Don't I want to be a better person?"

That was the moment in which I accidentally prayed for patience, or maybe it was entirely intentional. I'm still not sure as I write this, but I'm hoping it's the latter.

Then of course my day became even more difficult.

I placed my stuff in the car, went to Goodwill to purchase a coffee table, was panicking about my car that was running out of gas, experiencing road rage like no other (everyone in Muncie decided to drive like a maniac that day), feeling grouchy for no good reason, was literally sweating because I didn't want to bug other people with my blaring radio, put the coffee table and tv stand in my car, drove to my apartment to get the key for the gas cap that I didn't have with me so I could get gas so I wouldn't be stranded on McGalliard, tried to Google if using the radio would use gas or not (but ultimately just turned the radio off), and somehow got my piece of crap car to the gas station by my apartment. Whew. 

As I sat there in my car and as the little red meter rose within my dashboard, I felt relieved, realizing that all of my bitterness wasn't even worth it in the first place. That bitterness wasn't a result of other people being in my way or my mom nagging me or even the demands society or I place upon myself, but was the result of my own toxic, negative thought patterns.

The minute I stopped demanding that I and everyone else around me rush around out of fear of my life falling apart was the minute that I felt some sense of ease. I rolled down the windows of my car, felt myself literally and mentally cool down, and allowed myself to breathe as the sunshine hit my face.

In the end, it all turns out okay and even when it doesn't, you learn from it and become a little more patient or if you don't become more patient, perhaps you realize that you weren't and strive to be better next time, or maybe you even accidentally say a prayer asking for patience and a little grace and then find yourself placed in a position where you have to be patient because it's sure as heck better than being bitter.


Audrey Bowers