Why You Should Have Patience
Unless you live in or near Phoenix, Arizona, you might not know that Camelback Road is one of the busiest streets in town. For almost twenty years, I have lived a couple of streets north (or south) of Camelback. Except for 6 a.m. on a 115 degree Sunday morning, there’s always ridiculous amounts of traffic on the camel’s back:
It’s hard to make a left turn. It’s hard to make a right turn. It’s hard to change lanes.
If you’re maneuvering down Camelback Road during morning or evening rush hour, my advice to you is to turn on the radio, sit back and fuggedaboutit.
Luckily for me, I live five minutes from work – walking. Unluckily for me, this past Tuesday evening, I had an appointment at Scottsdale and Camelback Road that ended 5 minutes ’til 5. I knew I was toast as far as traffic was concerned, but I resolved that I would have patience in making my way home.
Traffic was bumper-to-bumper. When I looked towards the western horizon, I saw red tail lights for miles. Just like it is every weekday at 5 p.m., Camelback was chaos.
I almost successfully distracted myself all the way to my house. I listened to the radio. I sang. I composed letters in my head. I tried to come up with a topic to write to you about this week. I thought about my daughter. I meditated at stoplights.
I edged forward at a snail’s pace. Still though, I was going with the flow. I was in a good place.
There was drama on my drive.
Cars in the lane next to mine were honking. I heard screaming. Something was going on.
I snapped out of my daze. And, when I came to, I freaked.
I saw a bicyclist cutting across the bicycle lane into the curb lane (in front of a car). Then, he was cutting in front of me to get to the middle turning lane. I slammed on my brakes and smashed the horn with a long, angry blast. I did it twice for good measure.
I. Was. Pissed.
So was the guy on the bike, because he stopped it while in front of my car.
He flipped me off.
I honked again.
He flipped me off again and started screaming that he had the right of way. He yelled that what I was doing is illegal.
I pounded on my horn again.
He flipped me off again.
Then, he got back onto his bike and rode into the middle lane, still looking back at me screaming and giving me the bird. In fact, he was so focused on me, he was’t paying any attention to the road. He almost rode directly into oncoming traffic, causing those cars to slam on their brakes.
When the cars stopped, the man crossed Camelback Road in front of paused oncoming traffic and made his way to the other side, onto the sidewalk.
Now, I haven’t taken a driver’s test since I got my permit at 15 years old. I admit that I’m not really clear about who is supposed to go first when there are four cars at a four way stop sign. And, I can’t parallel park worth a damn.
BUT…I will say I think he was pretty much in the wrong on this one.
Anyway, whether I was wrong or he was isn’t the point.
The point is that this situation almost turned deadly. Part of the reason this is the case is because both that bicyclist and I lost our cool with each other. We both needed to have patience with the traffic, with getting where we wanted to go and with each other.
Patience can be deadly even if you’re not a bicyclist navigating around cars during rush hour on Camelback. I see how the lack of patience can compromise lives every day in my divorce practice. Here are a few examples:
1. When people don’t have patience, they give up on pursuing things they really want in life.
2. When people don’t have patience, they insist on pursuing things they really don’t want in life.
3. When people don’t have patience, they walk around in a perpetual state of frustration and anger over certain things they can’t control (like timing, for example).
4. When people don’t have patience, they act out of alignment with who they really are.
5. When people don’t have patience, they dwell on the negative about everyone and everything, bringing everyone and everything around them down.
6. When people don’t have patience, their focus on what is not happening gets in the way of that one thing that they want to happen.
7. When people don’t have patience, they are ignoring all the amazing things they have in their lives.
In today’s world of instantaneous online answers and made-to-order-in-5-minutes gourmet coffee, people are used to getting what they want. Immediately.
Do you remember the deep fulfillment that comes with getting what you want after back-breaking work, a hard fought battle or after just waiting a little bit?
Until the other day, I thought I was pretty patient. Ummm…Not so much.
I realize now how I could do better:
1. Have patience by not giving up on those things I really want in my life.
2. Have patience by giving up on those things I don’t really want in my life.
3. Have patience by cultivating an acceptance that I am exactly where I should be in life.
4. Have patience by acting and reacting in alignment with the REAL me…the kind, thoughtful, forgiving me.
5. Have patience by spinning the negative things happening in my life into positives.
6. Have patience by focusing on the things that I do want to happen, rather than the things I don’t want to happen.
7. Have patience by being thankful for the gifts that have already materialized and are right in front of my eyes.
When I honked my horn the first time the other day, it was a knee-jerk reaction. It didn’t seem like I had any control over my reflexes. The thing is, I escalated the situation by blasting the guy with my horn the second time. And doing it again. And again.
I wasn’t the only one to blame. He upped the game, too.
Together, we came close to ending his life.
The lack of patience can be deadly to you and to others.
Have patience. You might save someone’s life. The best part? That life just might be your own.