CHRISTIE MCNEAL: Patience: It’s still a virtue

By Christie McNeal

Recently, when leaving the doctor’s office, I overheard a conversation that at first really bothered me and then really got me thinking.
A man, holding a screaming baby, was standing in the waiting area explaining to the staff that he didn’t need to make an appointment. He said he simply needed “one of those things you use to look into the ears” because even he could tell if his child’s ear was infected. He said he had drops at home, and he just wanted to know if his son’s ear was infected.
This bothered me for several reasons.
First, the man was somewhat implying what doctors do is easy. There is a reason they go through years of training and medical school. Yes, the man might have been able to tell that his son did, in fact, have an infection, but how was he going to know the cause and if other medications would be needed to make his child better?
Next, when the ladies at the front desk informed the man that they couldn’t just go around handing out medical equipment the man began to take out his frustrations on them. I felt bad for them because I knew they were just the messengers and had probably nothing to do with making these rules.
When I left, still angrily thinking about this man and his poor, sick baby, I thought about how our society has turned into one of instant gratification.
We are always connected with our smartphones – texting, email and even video. A tap of a button, and we can watch any movie we want. We can order anything online without ever having to step into a store – or even leave our house, for that matter.
All this instant fulfillment has made us almost forget that some things still require waiting and patience.
I started thinking about whether or not I still know how to be patient.
The first thought that came to my mind was cooking dinner the other night. My husband was making his famous fried venison for a men’s Bible study. He had prepared his meat the day before – had cut it into small pieces, beaten each piece separately with a meat mallet to ensure it was tender and had carefully seasoned and marinated it overnight.
Now, the next day, he was taking his time battering each piece with just the right amount of flour and only frying a few pieces at a time.
While he was working on his masterpiece, I decided to cook some veggies for myself. Let’s just say I didn’t have quite the same amount of patience with my meal. Maybe that’s why my husband has taken over most of the cooking.
I realized I can definitely use some improvement when it comes to patience, as I am sure we all can.
Therefore, why did I have any right to judge that man at the doctor’s office for wanting to immediately know what was wrong with his sick child and make him better? I am just as guilty as he is in lacking patience.
Christie McNeal is a copy editor at the Daily Journal. Contact her at

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