Life

Be Patient: The Theme of 2020

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I don’t know about you, but I’m getting sick and tired of hearing people say, ‘Be patient.’ But maybe it’s what we need to hear in 2020.

Patience may indeed be a virtue. I can tell you, however, that it’s not one of my biggest virtues. So when I hear someone give the sage advice, “Be patient,” I cringe a little.

They told us that being patient would get us through the coronavirus pandemic. This same they did not say that it’d be over anytime soon. But I do think some among us convinced themselves of that. Temporary inconvenience. The stores will open back up in a week. We’d sit face to face in a crowd in restaurants by the end of the month. Summer ball games? No problem. The stadiums would be filled to capacity by the fall at the latest.

Do you hate wearing a mask? No problem. You won’t have to wear one longer than a few more weeks. Just be patient.

Here we are.

We’re now looking at eight months in. There’s no vaccine in immediate sight. Some health experts — I do not include politicians in that group — say it might be as late as the end of next year before a vaccine can be distributed fully.

‘It’ll all work out. Just be patient.’

I finally bought a home at the end of September. It only took me 50 years to get around to it.

I quickly realized that I was prepared for some parts of the mortgage process. What I hadn’t prepared for, it turned out, was the most basic aspect of it: being patient while each little step was completed.

I learned that my part in that process was surprisingly small. Yes, I had to provide plenty of financial documents, from tax returns to pay stubs to bank statements. I made calls to arrange power and insurance. Then I waited for insurance people to get back to me.

I checked off all of the items on the bank’s official checklist. I did my homework. At every step, I followed their instructions.

Then I played the “hurry up and wait” game. When they needed information, I provided it as quickly as I could.

When I needed to just know, once and for all, that everything went through with no problems, just as they assured me multiple times that it would, I couldn’t get an answer.

“It’ll all work out,” they said. “Just be patient.”

I got the confirmation that the loan did go through on the Friday before my Wednesday closing date.

Talk about a nail-biter!

No clear winner, yet.

Without going back to look, I’m sure we waited at least this long in the election of 2000, when George W. Bush and Al Gore battled for the White House. It took a long time to know definitively that Bush won that race, I seem to remember.

I’m sure in the old days, again without researching the point, that in the old days, before technology, people waited even longer for workers to count ballots and communicate a winner.

This election seems particularly painful. One side is launching lawsuits and crying about stolen elections and voter fraud. The other side is urging patience.

On Election Night, before mail-in ballots began to come in, it looked like a Trump victory. But Biden slowly began taking the lead as those mail-in ballots were counted. I disagree with the notion put forth by President Donald Trump that Biden “magically” took the lead. For months, Trump argued that mail-in ballots were ripe with fraud and his supporters largely accepted that and made sure they showed up in person. So Election Day voting surely favored Trump, particularly in states where it was going to be a close race, anyway.

Biden supporters have a bit more faith in mail-in ballots, since that’s how our servicemen cast their ballots. So many who voted early by mail happened to vote for Biden.

There’s no magic here. That’s exactly what everyone should have expected.

It’s still a matter of which side gets the most votes. And we still don’t know for sure which side that is, although things seem to be leaning more toward Biden now.

And the overly-political on both sides are on the verge of panic attacks waiting for the final word.

Even so, I think all of us realize that when the final votes are counted, it still won’t be truly over.

Remember patience?

The American people, in this Information Age where everything falls at our fingertips, clearly forgot what patience is.

We don’t want to wait.

When we have something to say, no matter how ill-thought-out it or ignorant it is, we jump on social media and post it. When we’re called on our mistakes, we get offended. We don’t learn the value of patience, thought and reason anymore.

The worst thing about social media is it gives immediate voice to the uninformed and irrational positions that society doesn’t need. There’s instant gratification there when people who agree with you click that little “Like” button.

That doesn’t mean you’re right, but you’re immediately confident you are because someone gave you a thumbs-up.

Social media means being able to throw patience out the window.

Except the need for patience never really goes away.

Too many of us have forgotten that. Too many of us need to relearn that one little value.

It’s going to be a long November, I’m afraid.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.