Don’t ask for Patience!

By Rev. Julia Kimmett, Okotoks (AB) United Church

Have you heard the old trope, “Don’t ask for patience or you will be given ample opportunity to practice it?” That is certainly true of our technology these days. Just last week I was so frustrated with a piece of technology that I literally threw it on the floor with the intention of stomping it to pieces. Fortunately, I came to my senses just before I lifted my foot to give the gadget a good crushing. I get it. It also shows how on edge we sometimes find ourselves these days. I’m not proud of my behaviour but I’m not the only one experiencing it.

In our congregation’s move to online worship during COVID-19, many people have emailed, texted or spoken to me about the glitches in technology or transmission when we are worshipping together. I understand their frustration. We would all prefer that things run well when we are in the middle of something meaningful. I know that it hinders our experience when the service is interrupted or things get out of sync. I wish I could ensure a smooth experience for everyone. Regretfully I can’t. For many reasons, some of which are: the hosting platform is not perfect (Zoom); the devices we use are of varying ages; the internet connections we have to our homes are not all the same speed (some are faster than others); the traffic on the internet at the time of the service, and probably many other factors.

Dealing with our frustration may simply be a case of accepting what we cannot change. If we can accept it, perhaps we can find ways to be more mindful of ourselves and our responses when things don’t work as we want them to. If we are getting frustrated, perhaps it is time to breath and smile and give thanks for what we do have – the ability to connect. If we are getting angry, stop and look at what frustrates us and let it go. If some elements of the service aren’t working or out of sync, turn the sound off, look at all the people who are at the service and pray for them.

We may not be able to change the circumstances but we can change our response to them. Regardless of what happens, it is good for us to gather and be the community of God in the midst of challenging times.

Stay safe, breath and may the faith be with you.