Monday, May 30, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

I drafted this blog while completing a 2.1 mile jog on this Memorial Day:

I had not run for approximately one week, and I was losing patience.  It was 1 PM, during peak tanning hours, and the sun and heat were merciless.  There were legitimate medical and meteorological reasons to postpone this run, but I would not yield.  Where are my shoes?  Where are my sunglasses?  I lost patience searching for my iPod headphones, so I proceeded out the front door, miffed but ready to take on the heat.  I could not wait any longer.

Without music, I blogged.

I started to think that we are born into this world, most of us in hospitals, and our first role is that of patient.  We are dependent on the kindness of others for survival, so we learn patience as a reluctant patient.  There is no other way.

The next 20+ years are defined by our impatience, wanting to push ourselves and everyone around us faster, and consequently, with greater recklessness.  It is a miracle that we survived, but most of us did.  It was a helluva ride, over in an instant.  Patience is not a virtue to someone in their 20s.  It’s a character flaw.

Once family and kids come along, patience is lost with increasing frequency.  At times it seems so hopelessly lost that we lament that “we have no more patience.”   We realize that our patience isn’t ‘lost’ in the sense of being casually misplaced.  It has been stolen by our children.  Funny those kids steal their parents’ patience, yet still remain impatient.  Their cups never runeth over.

As the children leave the nest, patience is restored.  We drift towards retirement, often involuntarily, and we can relax…just in time to enter the phase of our lives as patients again.  Some 70 years after our first stint as a patient at birth, we are once again dependent on the kindness of others for survival, so we learn patience as a patient.  There is no other way.

On this Memorial Day when we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all that we enjoy today, let us remember those in the diplomatic arena, those who demonstrated patience and quietly averted many cataclysmic struggles on the battlefield.  We may never know some of the names of those who worked so hard in anonymity to avoid wars and loss of life, but on this day, I thank you that the list of the dead is not longer.

We are once again dependent on the kindness of others for survival.  Happy Memorial Day.

No comments:

Post a Comment