I was waiting in line to get into a store and found myself feeling impatient. We never used to have to wait in line to get into a store. We only had to wait in line once we were in a store and wanted to pay to get out of the store. This pandemic period has us doing a lot of things we never used to do.
While I was waiting, I found myself thinking: this pandemic is getting old. I usually try to connect with my calmer self and stay composed, but it was 90 degrees outside and I didn’t feel like connecting with my calmer self. I felt like being annoyed. Fortunately, I didn’t take out my annoyance on anyone. I reminded myself that there are frustrating situations where no one is to blame.
We are in a frustrating situation now where no one is to blame—even though our inadequate leadership has made our situation even more frustrating. It takes a lot of patience to be a strong leader, since some challenges require months and years of perseverance. I don’t know how long this current pandemic challenge will last. I think one of the reasons I started to feel impatient while waiting in line was because I realized that it wasn’t going to end any time soon.
Right now, I feel like both the child in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?” and the reassuring parent saying, “We’ll be there soon.” I understand that soon is relative. If Moses and the Israelites wandered for forty years in the desert, we will definitely get through this pandemic soon by biblical standards. But we will not be getting through this pandemic soon by Amazon Prime standards. It will take much more time for the world to heal.
Anyone who has been wounded knows how much patience healing takes. This pandemic period can surely aggravate some old wounds by making the world feel dangerous, strange, and isolating. Be patient with yourself if a feeling pays a visit that you thought had been out of your life for good. Keep in mind that just because a feeling shows up at your door doesn’t mean you need to get out the guest bed and offer it a place to stay. You can ask a few questions and let it head on its way. What is sometimes worse than feeling bad is feeling bad about feeling bad. Just as athletes need to learn to bounce back from tough losses, we all need to learn to bounce back from tough days so they don’t turn into tough weeks or tough years.
It definitely takes patience to connect with your courage and develop a more resilient mindset. The first step in connecting with courage is to believe there is courage in you to connect with. If you don’t hold this belief, you will be constantly searching for courage in others. There was a time when it was believed that there was only courage in men. There was a time when it was believed that only white people had the character to be leaders.
Our country has grown appropriately impatient with oppressive beliefs and is experiencing some intense growing pains. Change can be stressful. Birth can be painful. The human spirit has proven that it can endure a lot of stress and pain for a cause that is essential. I don’t underestimate the human spirit and wouldn’t recommend that any leader do it either. History is full of tragedies that are the result of arrogance being confused for intelligence. General Custer underestimated the human spirit and it cost all of his soldiers their lives. He graduated last in his class at West Point and amassed a record total of 726 demerits. It is much less dangerous for a student to think that he is above the rules than for a leader to think that he is above the law. There are countless monuments and memorials honoring Custer. Isn’t it time that we commit to honoring only those who are truly honorable?