"When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak" (Mark 5:27, NIV 2011).
It was one of those mornings where the alligators all started snapping at once. Monday, of course. I was expected at a noon conference where I was presenting a patient. Fifteen minutes to get there. My last morning patient was sick. He was pale and tachycardic with melenic stool. At the same time, one of my patients in the treatment room started wheezing with a drug reaction. I rushed to check him out as I handed off the GI bleeder for my nurse to admit. When I finished with the epinephrine and was running out the door to the conference, my nurse stopped me, "There aren't any beds in the hospital." I snapped, "Just get him in!" and ran out the door.
When I returned from the conference to my computer for the first afternoon patient, there was an instant message waiting for me, "Dr. _____, you had no right to be rude to me; I was just trying to help you." I immediately went to apologize.
As doctors, we deal in the important.
Very often the important is time sensitive and we take ownership of that time to get the job done. As we do, sometimes our patience goes out the door. Certainly this lack of patience is one of my greatest character flaws. In my own sense of the important, I very often focus on my own agenda, in my own timing.
My focus at work is usually completing the task, when God's focus is always people.
I sometimes, with some legitimacy, excuse myself by claiming that my time sensitive tasks are about people as well. And in some sense this is true. We certainly need to weigh the importance of the goals we seek against the delays or interruptions of the moment. It's not easy to do. But, watching the way Jesus did it on the way to heal Jairus' daughter, I suspect that, almost always, the people of the present trump the task of the future; and that patience with kindness should win out no matter what the agenda.
Help me to hand you my time and please hand me back the strength to be patient.