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.

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Old Souls

Has society taken a turn for the worse? In many ways I think it has. Women have forgotten what’s beautiful about being a woman. They’ve forgotten how to be graceful and classy. They’ve forgotten how to treat a man; how to appreciate a man. And men have forgotten how to court a woman; how to make her feel treasured and valued. It’s rare now to meet a man who instinctively opens doors for her (after the first couple dates), pumps her gas, and tries to lighten her load, both metaphorically and literally.

And what has technology done to us as a society? People are addicted to text messaging (I’m guilty of it too). But high school boys rely on it to ask girls out. Gone are the days of working up the nerve to call a girl and ask her to prom. Of stammering on the phone, and being horrified at the mess of words that are coming from your mouth as a result of being so nervous… And then realizing that it didn’t kill you, and you could probably do it again someday, maybe a little smoother next time. What’s going to happen to the generation of young people who can hide behind their gadgets and devices, rather than developing confidence in themselves (as well as humility).

My generation is a far cry from that of our grandparents, ‘The Greatest Generation’. A handshake doesn’t hold the same promise. A man’s word is worth nothing more than the air it’s uttered into. Now we demand that everything be put in writing and signed, in order for it to hold up in court. It’s a time of contracts and prenuptial agreements and more lawsuits than the courts can handle. How did we as a society become this? It’s also an era of convenience. Why do the work yourself when you could hire someone to do it for you? All it takes is a phone call. We have internet access on hand-held devices, and anything we need is accessible with the touch of a few buttons. The fact is we are lazy!

But the picture is not completely bleak. Every once in a while I meet someone who restores my faith in mankind:  an ‘old soul’. Maybe they had a Brady Bunch style childhood and an overall good life. Maybe not.  But maybe their moral fiber has led to a lifetime of challenges, because often the right path is not the easy path. And maybe they have been burned by others, but they’ve resisted the urge to adopt the look-out-for-number-one mentality that so many others have. These people have strength of character and usually a rock solid foundation of faith. They are inspiring.

As a woman who wants a family one day, I hope to spend my life with a man who is one of those ‘old souls’.  This man is not afraid of a hard day’s work.  He wants a family one day and looks forward to being a part of something larger than himself.  This man will have spent time thinking about how he will raise his children to know the importance of hard work and the value of a dollar. This man will think to check the oil in his wife’s car before she leaves for a long drive. He will cherish the trust that his wife has for him, and would never compromise it. This man will be grateful to have found a woman who wants to cook for him and do the household chores that he despised as a bachelor, simply because she wants to make his life a little easier, a little warmer.  He will ask his wife to dance when her favorite song plays. This man’s family will be his legacy…his own little empire that he can sit back and admire as he grows into old age.

Finding one of these old souls is a blessing.