I was at the local dollar store the other day, getting some Christmas gift bags. (I hate, and am terrible at, wrapping gifts. Therefore: gift bags.) The store was busy. It is a locally owned stored, and usually staffed by a member of the family that owns it. That was the case this day, and Store Owner was busy trying to get everyone taken care of.
One lady near the check-out counter had placed an order for helium-filled balloons, and was waiting for the order. However, Store Owner decided to check out people before he took care of that. When it was my turn, Balloon Order Lady mutttered under her breath, "Well, I don't mind waiting for a couple of people, but this is ridiculous." I was annoyed.
I was annoyed because I thought that wasn't really the Christmas spirit. Clearly, Store Owner was doing the best he could. I was annoyed that Balloon Order Lady wasn't more patient. It wasn't my fault the guy had decided to do things in this order. I was annoyed because I thought if you couldn't wait a moment or two, you should shop at the big chain store with self check-out. Annoyed, that is what I was.
I left, feeling just a little bit self-righteous and proud of myself. I had been patient. I wasn't annoying or muttering under my breath. I was the better person.
Then I realized: my annoyance with Balloon Order Lady was no better than her annoyance with Store Owner. In fact, mine was probably worse, as I had reflected on the situation, whereas her response seemed to be just an off-the-cuff, tip-of-the-tongue reaction. And then, I was annoyed...with myself.
Advent is a call to patience, of waiting. Sometimes, we are patient, and sometimes patience is thrust upon us. Where are you be called to patience? I hope you are doing better than me....