Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

I received a text message from a friend this morning that said “Why are most women so sporadic in their behavior? They want one thing one day and something completely different the next day.”

My response was: “I can’t answer for others, but mostly I think it’s because people want instant gratification. We live in a world where everything’s available NOW, and if it’s not, then we’re on to the next thing. People don’t have patience anymore.”

My assumption about the issue my friend was facing must have been right, because my answer satisfied him… and then he asked me if I’d like to run off and get married. A shining example of patience himself. 🙂

Lest you think I am writing from a holier-than-though perspective, I actually have been thinking about this topic lately because patience is something I struggle with myself. We all know the saying “good things come to those who wait,” but how many of us are good at sitting and waiting? I’m certainly not. I’m an action taker. I like to set my sights on a goal and make things happen. But life doesn’t always lend itself to that attitude—relationships especially, but it’s also true of career paths, getting to where you want to be financially, and for some unlucky couples, adding to a family. Sometimes we just have to wait.

Generations before us didn’t have internet. They didn’t have email and cell phones and instant messaging. Once upon a time they didn’t even have fax machines. They relied on snail mail and face-to-face conversations to communicate information. It’s hard to imagine having a relationship that way. Or getting any kind of work done. When the network at my office crashes, we all emerge into the hallway and stare at each other, lost. Handicapped.

I had a bout of puppy love in high school, with a guy a year older than me. He went away to college and left me pining for the day I would get to see him again. We wrote emails daily, relying on horribly unreliable dial-up internet connections. We sent each other hand-written letters, sprayed with perfume and sealed with a lipstick kiss. (I did that, not him, thankfully.) And I counted the days until Christmas break. I had an achy feeling every time I would read one of his heartfelt messages to me. I hated the waiting. But I had patience. He was worth waiting for.

That is… until I started partying during the last half of my senior year. I discovered Busch Lite and bonfires. My relationship took a backseat, and eventually I forgot that it was still in the car. Not one of my prouder moments.

I read somewhere that emails and text messages killed the love letter. It’s true, don’t you think? We don’t have to wait days or even hours to share our loving thoughts for someone. The thoughts barely have time to sink into our consciousness before they’re launched into cyberspace in the form of a text message. It’s not necessary to choose words carefully… to make sure that we’re expressing ourselves fully because we only have one chance at it. And because of that, I don’t think people give love the time it needs to solidify. Love doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen after two or three good dates. It happens over time, through shared experiences and mutual respect that takes time to earn. But our culture is so used to instant gratification that we see a light peeking through a crack… a tiny chance at love… and we throw ourselves through the door only to extinguish the flame by our own actions. No patience.

How many military men and women have deployed and come home to find out that their beloved spouse has cheated on them or left them for another. No patience. How many people have left a job after only a year or two, because they’re not seeing the leaps in salary they’d hoped for? No patience. How many people have found themselves hurt by the fact that a text message they sent wasn’t responded to within an hour. No patience.

Technology has advanced to the point that we don’t have to wait for anything. We aren’t trained to wait. We’re a society of shakers-and-movers. If you aren’t moving at my pace, I’m leaving you behind. The bad part about this is, sometimes the best opportunities in life… the best people you’ll ever meet, the best job you’ll ever have… isn’t moving at your pace. So you leave it behind. And eventually, it leaves you behind.

Good things come to those who wait.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Samuel
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 15:03:20

    I am a patient man. I was not always so.

    Oh, the perspective that comes as the years pass…


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