This past weekend we took a family get away to an indoor water park. It is always a wonderful time, but very tiring. We had several meals together, spent some time in the evening playing games and then raced around with the kids at the water park for the rest of the time.
I just looked back and we have gone to this park every year since 2011 - except for 2014 when Anna was born in January! So this was our fifth trip to this park. We only spend one night there, but that gives us time to swim both on the day we arrive and the next day. So we get two days in the water. And with little ones, that is quite enough. Each of the rooms is actually a one bedroom or two bedroom suite with a full kitchen, so it is really perfect with little kids. As usual, being with my grown up children and my grandchildren is always an interesting adventure. When I was journaling today about this time, I noted some things that might seem like really small things at first glance. But really, they pack a punch. This was a big trip for Lia, who actually went on every activity in the park this year! She did the "body slide" all by herself more than once. And she tackled the "Ropes" course over the water. This represented many years of patience on the part of the grown ups who had wanted her to be ready to try these activities before she was actually ready for them. Anna needed US to be patient as she discovered that the slide in the toddler area was actually very fun. Once we let her get used to the idea, she warmed up and let us hold her hand on the first few slides. By the third time, she was off. And for the next many hours, Anna ran from the bottom of the slide to the steps and back down that slide. Over and over. Zeke had to be a bit more patient since you have to be six to go into the hot tub and sadly he is only 5 this year! Yes, patience. Not easy but necessary. A good time was had by all, in any case.
So today I made my weekly trip to Walmart for groceries. Always an interesting experience, but today was especially challenging. I only needed about 1/2 a cart of stuff, so I wrongly believed that I could be in and out quickly. I really wasn't in any time crunch, but the weather is nasty (rainy and VERY windy) so I just wanted to get home! As I approached the check out lines, I noticed a man with one item. So I told him to go ahead of me. The women in front of me also let him jump ahead. Still should not have been that long of a check out. Little did I know what was to come. Let me just stop right here and say, in total truth telling, that I have actually been journaling about NOT always being rushed and taking time to breathe. So I saw this as a good opportunity to do just that! Well, there were all kinds of problems with the women in front of me actually completing her order. There was a coupon issue. There was an issue with an item not matching a coupon. There was a problem with the register. There was a problem getting a supervisor to the register to fix one of the other problems! As the time ticked away, I found myself getting more and more anxious. So, I stopped and took some more deep breaths and turned to the person waiting behind me (with a very full cart of groceries)! He was actually the fifth or sixth person to get in my line. The others had all assessed the situation and gone to another aisle! Smart! He had already unloaded some of his items onto the belt by the time I turned to him. We had a nice chat about our very unusual weather (50 degrees in January and 60 mile an hour wind gusts). We talked about some produce items. And he mentioned that his wife was on maternity leave for another 3 weeks. That led to a nice conversation about his newborn son. By this time, I was feeling more patient. Even though it had been 45 minutes since I entered the check out line, I was quite relaxed. Happy to be leaving, but also calm.
Yes, I believe that will be one of my goals for 2017. I will breathe and be in the moment rather than let things get me angry. The result of that anger is usually fear and fear is never good. I really liked that I actually felt good when I got home, in spite of a really unfortunate experience at Walmart. This patience thing is not easy. But in the end, it is so worth it.
I was thinking about this scene from the movie Evan Almighty. If you click on the link you will see a great scene and also words about patience. Yes, it might actually be an answer for me! If you want to be more patient, won't God give you situations in which you have to be patient? Yes, I think this is the case. Tonight I am so thankful for this past weekend and then this situation today. What a great reminder for all of us!
Jesus, thank you for giving me a direction for 2017 to become more patient. Thank you for family times and laughter and fun. Thank you for kind people at Walmart and friendly conversations. Give us all reminders to take a step back and breathe when we are faced with trying situations. And thank you Jesus for warm weather in January. Amen