PATIENCE IS AN ACME VIRTUE

I learned an important lesson this month, regarding the virtue of patience. In this modern world where people expect things to be done properly and in order and in the right chain of command without missed signals and in perfect timing and sequence, stresses happen when the opposites of those things happen.When a chain of command is not properly followed for instance, the vibrations of it, once out in the business’s or company pipeline, can cause real trouble for everybody involved, including the whistle-blower or someone who reports an incident or problem. People can miss signals all the time, and when a company is very busy with many projects of major importance, for instance, some things get dropped from immediate view or are minor enough that they can wait till the more complex projects are finished. Besides, waiting for a few cents is not worth wasting a perfectly good friendship over- the money is not important and can wait.

That’s why there are chains of command- so that situations can be handled smoothly. People at every level know and can do certain things, and if they cannot do them, they find out who can, send the matter up the ladder, and then it is appropriately handled. I didn’t remember that as deeply as I should have, but fortunately the situation can be and has since been taken care of.

An episode of Gomer Pyle USMC explored the chain of command in a funny but attentive manner. Pyle refused one day to take his pay because Carter said he hadn’t worked hard enough. So when he returned money to the paymaster it started a series of events that took the matter clear up to the Pentagon. With each change of scene the officers involved showed a rise in the ranks, from the lieutenant who handled the initial pay-out and the return of the money, to, as I recall, a captain, a major, and finally a general in Washington. The general reviewed the papers and, guess what, sent it back down the line to the lieutenant who took the money so he could have the sergeant return it to Pyle. And then it was expected that once Pyle signed the receipt the paperwork would be returned to Washignton, as the general asked for a signed receipt. Of course Pyle in his usual way argued that he did not deserve the money and could not take it, but he solved the problem by offering to work extra hours to earn it back- remembering it was due to his habit of goofing off that got the whole mess started.

In this episode also observe that in following proper military courtesy, which when closely seen is basic courtesy put on a professional level with the expectation that the rules and standards will be followed to gain success in the organization, note that Pyle does not just get up and say, “I think I’ll just mosey on up to see General Wells and ask him what he thinks.” He waits for the general to ask him in to talk over the situation and THEN General Wells, once he knows the facts and the parties in the matter, summons Carter and informs him of the command decision. It is as the parable of the banquet guest in the Bible– you do not take the high place first. If you do, the guest who is supposed to take that seat might arrive and you would be asked to step down, perhaps to the lowest place. No, what the right thing to do is take the lowest place and wait for your host to notice and then ask you, as a signal mark of honor and appreciation, to move up, maybe even to the high place. It is better then to take that low seat and wait, just being patient, until those higher in the chain of honor or command ask you to sit with or talk with them. They come to you- the lower rank salutes the higher rank and then the salute is returned, see? It is not logical for the higher ranking official to salute the private first.

“The love of money is the root of all evil” and “Pride goeth before a fall”.- simple paraphrased proverbs and good to remember. Don’t let the heat of the day or the rush of a surprise incident heat your temper or drive you to the depths of emotional, physical, or intellectual temptation. Someone is above and below you; someone is smarter or not as advanced as you; someone is there to solve problems where you cannot. It is beneficial to learn to wait and ponder and think and be patient in this atmosphere of rush here and rush there, apps for this and apps for that, instant high-speed connections (that when broken lead to a lot of frustration), hurry up, go here and go there. A cab driver said it well when he remarked, “You hurry up to slow down.”

Others have problems and frustrations and tasks too, and when you do not remember that, then it is a sign of arrogance and pride and those are sins that must be remedied. It takes courage to atone, to come before those that are in trouble or that you have brought troubles to, sit down and talk it over, giving civil words and reasonable explanations and… you can only hope and pray they will listen and that you also will have the PATIENCE to hear them out too. You might find that they share similar likes, dislikes, frustrations, hardships, cares and concerns that you do, that you have more in common with them than at first you suspected.

Thankfully, one of the managers gave me an excellent solution to reacting too quickly to problems or something one intends to submit or mail to anyone, no matter their position in life. The lesson was also positively re-enforced by a good friend, in the way we have talked about certain problems along the way. The lessons are there- in others’ actions, reactions, in their ways to deal with frustration and in what they can teach you. (Think of parliamentary procedure too- in this set of standards is a fine example for proper behavior and learning to interact with others in a civil manner.)

When writing something, our manager suggested, and especially electronically, take time to think about what you are writing and BE CAREFUL to not send or mail it immediately. Print it out, or save it as a draft and set it aside. Take time away from the rush and frustrations and problems of the incident or situation to cool the head and the temper before working on that transmission. You might find that with patience, with just waiting a few days or hours to speak with the proper people, that the situation can be handled peacefully and that everyone involved can show their good side, can be understanding, can listen and act as mature people who respect you and who care about the situation, especially when keeping the reputation of a business good and on the level. Sure, people misinterpret or write trashy stuff or items in poor judgment all the time, but that does not mean it has to be sent all over the world or shown around for an item of gossip or making trouble. Set it aside, take the time to consider possible consequences- THINK ABOUT IT LONG AND HARD. Pray about it- you might realize you do not need to or even want to send the letter after all. And by then, the person to whom you should make proper contact might be back and then you can sit down and discuss the situation.

So I want to thank “S” and “L” and “R” for taking some of their busy days to speak with me, give me the good advice, and point me in the right direction. There is always room for improvement, and for that apt phrase I thank “T”.

Above all, thank God for allowing the situation to pass with relative ease and civility, and for being there in everything. Thanks Lord for all the provision, the life, the lessons, the strength, and the intellect to see these things through. Thank you my Lord, my God, and my All.

Divi. Chicago. 2012.

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