There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: impatience and laziness. Franz Kafka
At my father’s funeral many years ago his friend Sonny came up to me and said, “You know, Bob was the kind of guy who would turn right on red even if he wasn’t going that way, just to keep moving.” It was so true. Dad and I had worked together for 15 years and, of course, he’d been around my entire life. He was a very impatient man.
Not long after this I was playing golf when another old friend of the family was in his back yard tending his flower bed full of impatiens. Marshall, the friend, asked me, “Do you know what I call those flowers?” No, I replied. “Caldwell’s.” So, due to his temperament, Dad had a flower named after him.
Impatience is the inability to endure frustration or annoyance without expressing anger or negativity. I recognize it in me, do you? If I’m not getting my way in traffic or in line, I want things to be different, right now. My time is more valuable than your’s; my needs should be put ahead of those of anyone else stuck in the annoying, frustrating situation. In short, I am greedy, which, by the way, is one of the 7 cardinal sins.
These times test our patience. Annoyances and frustrations are staples of the modern day. I have the bad habit of reading political articles and opinion in the morning. It is not helpful for my mood and there’s nothing in the short run I can do about it. I take in the information and disturb myself and don’t have an outlet for it. The temptation then is to take it out on those around me.
The Japanese word, wa, has the meaning of harmony and peace. I think of it often when confronted with something that upsets me. This is upsetting my wa, how can I change that? Holidays are coming, it’s the perfect time to make a start at finding our wa because we’ll have plenty of opportunity to test it out. Wa is as close as the next breath and found only there.
Take a breath. Breathe. Let the tension of the moment melt away with the inhale and exhale. As the Holocaust survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells us: It is in the ability to pause between stimulus and response and choose that real freedom lies. Let’s choose wisely this holiday season. There is much that we do not and cannot control, but choosing our response is one thing we can do, and it is all that is necessary.