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I have recently been reminded that patience is a virtue…and one that I constantly have to work on!

In June, I was celebrating my birthday out of town with my wonderful family, and through one of my signature graceful movements, tripped over my own feet and broke my shoulder. Going through the healing process has been a real trial for my patience!

While working on keeping a sense of humor and peace about only having one functioning arm, I began to do some thinking about patience, and what it means to me. Turning to that ever present, completely reliable source of information – Wikipedia – I learned that “Patience is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast. “ Sounds good, right?

We apply these attributes daily (and sometimes hourly) while waiting for a light to turn green when we are running late, waiting for the office coffee pot to finally finish brewing, waiting for the guy in front of you in the airport TSA screening line to unpack two laptop computers, pull out a bag of toiletries from the bottom of the bag, untie his wingtip shoes that are double knotted…and then circle back to remove the wallet, cell phone and three pounds of change from his pockets that he forgot he was carrying.

Little annoyances like these, and things like trying to dry my hair or button a blouse with one arm , seem so difficult, and I can feel my patience slipping away. Then, as I look around, watching the mom at the airport alone struggling with a stroller, bags, a crying baby and a toddler, or the patients at my own hospital that are obviously in the midst of a very arduous treatment struggle, or the nursing home next door to my office with the residents sitting outside waiting patiently for perhaps a visitor that never comes, I am suddenly feeling very guilty for my lack of patience. My problems seem so miniscule in light of the real problems in the world.

Each day, I try to remind myself that there are so, so many that are in situations that are so much worse than mine. I resolve to have more patience with myself, and those around me that are enduring their own struggles.

To quote those great philosophers – Guns n’ Roses…”Take it slow, It’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience.”

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