I’m sure I am not the only person that finds waiting a life draining experience. Where I live (in a small often forgotten city – in a small often forgotten African country), one has to develop the art of patience as a matter of self preservation.
Here are just a few things that teach you how to be patient in Zomba;
- You wait for the electricy which is off for about 5 hours each day
- When the tap runs dry, you wait for the indeterminable number of hours for it to start producing water again
- You wait for the idiot that has parked you in to return and blatantly ignore you as they remove their car from the front of yours
- You wait for the person that has ascribed to the outrageous unwritten law that states – you can still drive while talking on your cell phone as long as you drive between 20 – 40mph (this one really gets my spleen!)
- You suspend your conversation for a few minutes while the muezzin (Islamic call for prayer) is being broadcast in the city because noone will hear what you say otherwise.
- You do this also while the pick-up truck loaded with gigantic speakers is blaring slowly past your workplace while advertising one thing or another – or just advertising itself incase you want to book it to advertise something for you (why we can’t use flyers like normal people is beyond me).
- When the royals (President and his entourage) drive through your two-street city, you have to wait for about 30mins while the entire fleet of cars, motorcycles, gun-totting security, ambulance, and fancy amoured caravan (yes caravan) drive past before you can use the road again.
All in all, I think I have actually done well in the learning of patience in the two years I have lived here. Although this is just the mundane everyday stuff we deal with; it is different from being patient with say, people, plans, life in general.
I am one of those people who will plant a seed today and expect it to have grown by tomorrow. Perhaps its that ‘instant generation’ we keep hearing about. Thankfully, data connection is not one of the topics on the waiting list (pun intended); otherwise I would have no time to write three blogs, complete a masters, and still find time to watch movies online.
It is called a virtue in popular terms, something to be proud of once you attain it. Something you can use in every situation and context. It is also something that grows with practice and time. Although I find it so challenging (to put it nicely) to wait some things out especially on a busy day when you have a million things to get done; it does help with keeping the blood pressure in check. James 5 vs 7-11 says it all …
‘Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.’
Feature image: Impatient