Patience, Grasshopper.

I just watched a driver go around railroad crossing arms or bars or whatever those things are called.

Full Discolosure #1: I live in a suburb where the railroad tracks are one of the, if not THE, biggest pains for the residents of this area. I've been regularly delayed by 10 minutes, with my maximum trip time extended by over an hour due to the layout and lack of alternate routes to certain places. Going around the barricades is a huge temptation, especially when they are obviously malfunctioning.

Full Disclosure #2: I have a huge fear of trains, or, more accurately, being hit by one. In my first couple of years as a licensed driver, I remember only one set of tracks in my home town and I didn't have to cross them often. But I was plagued by recurring nightmares about them, convinced that this would be how I'd meet my Maker. I hate when those flashing red lights go off because even crossing the tracks BEFORE the bars come down sends me into a panic.

So today, I watched a train car mover thingy -- not a locomotive, just one of those "take it from here to there" machines -- pulling no more than 10 flatbed cars. Sure, it was slow, but you could see both ends and it was a total of maybe 3 minutes wait. The instant the last train car cleared the intersection, the van next to me darted around the bar. Ten seconds later, the bars lifted. The funny? There's a traffic light just on the other side, so I was right next to the van again.

I started thinking. There are two sets of tracks there -- what if another train had been coming from the other direction and couldn't be seen? Would those 10 seconds have been worth it? It didn't take long to make the leap to the many times I show my own lack of patience. Just because that particular action isn't one I'd tend to do doesn't mean I can feel all self-righteous.

Need an example? I give up on diets because the pounds don't jump off as fast as they seem to jump on. I talk over people because they aren't getting to the point fast enough, or saying it the way I think they should. I get frustrated at clients for changing their minds or not following directions. I want change and I want it now.

In the last week, dear friends saw the greatest desire of their hearts granted when a child was placed with them for adoption. After years of trying, hoping,  wondering why, and finally completing the paperwork, they had to wait yet again after they were approved. It was the longest month of the previous ten years, I'm sure. And now, they've got six months to finalization. That's patience. That's faith. That's perseverence.

If I can remember this little lesson every time I see the railroad tracks, just maybe I can grow in that area of my life. And you can bet I won't be going around railroad bars.


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