Silly me. Even though my friend warned me that today was the busiest day of the year at the post office, that did not dissuade me. Not checking that item off my list would actually be more stressful than the long line I was sure to encounter, so I braved the satellite post office at the grocery store where the clerk is kind, but methodical and unruffled -- all good traits, but none of which advance the line with alacrity.
A funny thing about patience -- it tends to materialize when I'm prepared to need it. I knew there would be a line, so I figured I'd entertain myself with my phone and indeed I did -- I wrote the beginning of this blog, grateful that I was able to stand in line without worrying about finishing in time to race off to work.
I got to the counter 26 minutes after I got in line, and made it back to my car (mission accomplished) in almost exactly 30 minutes -- about three times as long as it usually takes -- but not before the patience I'd so carefully exercised began to fade.
Another thing about patience -- it runs out at funny times. When I was resigned to waiting in line, I relaxed (more or less) into the waiting game, typing on my phone and engaging in conversation with those around me. But once I was finished, that patience was gone and I was ready to sail on to the next thing on the list.
And so when I encountered an older couple meandering along on their way out of the store, did I remain behind them, matching their slow but steady pace?
I did not. Instead, I paused momentarily, then strode full speed ahead into a passing lane of my own creation. I passed safely, staying in my own lane, careful not to bump or collide, but nevertheless cruising ahead at my own speed. On another day, I might have meandered along behind them, taking a moment to be grateful that I had the option of traveling slowly or traveling quickly, but today, errand #3 loomed.
And so I'm taking that moment of gratitude now. I'm grateful to have enjoyed time with a friend this morning, and to have accomplished two (soon to be three, once I post this) things on my to-do list. I'm grateful that patience materialized when I needed it, and I'm grateful that I'm still young enough to have a choice of speeds, not only behind the wheel of my car, but under my own steam behind a grocery cart as well. I'm grateful for blue skies, temperatures that aren't too cool and the fact that, unlike my daughter and my former colleagues, I don't have to report to school again for more than a month.
Now I just need to work on being grateful for all the things I still have to do between now and Christmas.