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From the Publisher's Desk – I'm quickly needing patience (June 17, 2015 issue)

I took my mom Friday to have a colonoscopy. It had only been a few weeks back since I had the same procedure done at Unicoi County Memorial Hospital. In fact, the staff did a double take and asked “Weren’t you just here?.”
Many from church knew what mom was having done. One such friend, Valerya Hyrne, had emailed me earlier that day to wish us well. I told her it was easier as the patent, sleeping through it than sitting in the waiting room. Part of her return message read “Patience, sorry, not to throw off on men, but I don’t know of any men who are patient waiting for anything, especially for doctors and hospitals.”
Believe me, I had plenty of time to reflect on that statement and examine my own degree of patience as I waited. We showed up at the required time and found a line of people waiting to check in. There were even more people waiting in a “holding room.” Luckily, we were quickly taken back to the prep area where they got mom ready and then brought me in. We were told there that the doctor had not arrived yet. I practiced patience.
Before I had been taken back with mom to wait, I met a beautiful family. They had dark hair, gorgeous skin tone and were obviously foreign. The mother was modestly covered with a long cloak and veil. They took her back for prep and I got a chance to talk to her husband. I don’t typically strike up conversation with strangers unless they stand out and perk my interests.
With my southern accent and his broken English, I found out that they were from Arabia, had an adorable little boy, who is four years-old and a little girl, who is five. He works at East Tennessee State University. They live in Johnson City and have been in the US for two years. He was told that people would not welcome them in the United States but, luckily, he had not found that to be true.
By the time I got back with mom in the pre-surgery waiting area, he was soon called in with his wife. There were obviously some problems. They did not realize she was going to have a male doctor doing her colonoscopy. It was important to her that it be female for religious beliefs. My heart felt for them as they waited for answers, tried to communicate and tried to understand.
I thought about the patience they must have in coming to a new country and adapting to the cultures and languages. I tried to assist them by breaking down the explanation I had heard given to them from the staff member. I told them who did my colonoscopy and is a female and explained how they could find her.
They were told they would have to go back to their primary doctor, express desire for a female to do the procedure and that doctor would then set up an appointment for them, after which the colonoscopy would be rescheduled. This must have seemed overwhelming for them and a practice in patience.
The doctor showed up for mom’s procedure and they took her on back. I sat in the waiting room, draining the battery on my phone by playing game after game to pass the time. Again, my mind started to process on patience. I thought about how I was in a hurry for them to take mom on back so we could get out of there. What if something went wrong and I hadn’t appreciated the extra time we had while waiting?
I thought about how patiently Tommy Little was as he worked to replace my kitchen faucet the night before. It wasn’t an easy task as he lay half in and half out of the cabinet, working around multiple pipes and hoses and slowly turning the nut on the tightly sealed bolt.
I thought about the problem I have waiting for the line to move at Bojangle’s and getting up to the window to be told they are out of their signature item, the spicy chicken.
I thought about the problem I have when coming out of that lot, back to the highway, wanting to cross over to the railroad overpass and seeing arrows for turn left or right but not straight.
I thought about the people who had to put up with the road work for months on Main Street as the state prepared for the overpass. There was dust and noise and finally the loss of part of their lawn. Now spring is here, the project is over, their yards are growing and they have to wait patiently for someone to come back and get the large rocks and piles of dirt out of their yards.
I thought about my friend Valerya who had several toes removed last year and has slowly and painfully worked to get back to where she is now with walking.
I thought about my uncle, Ray Chandler, who fell and broke his hip and part of his leg and is slowly making progress, while all of his outside work piles up.
What about all of the people who have cancer and have no choice but to patiently wait for a cure and wish life would slow down so they had more time?
Many gathered out Saturday as the Relay For Life took place in Unicoi County. They were there to raise money and raise awareness of those who have died, recovered or are carrying the disease with hope day by day.
It all made me realize I need more patience and more appreciation and more help toward my fellow man.
I realized my wait was nothing in that small room at the hospital. Soon the doctor came out and told me everything was fine. I had heard those same words just weeks before on behalf of myself. What a blessing worth waiting for.
Galatians 5:22-23 reads “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”