Mike is very patient and patience is a virtue and that’s a good thing. But here is an example where his patience has gone too far. The wounds on his face from his bike accident have healed quickly. There is almost no evidence the fall ever happened, except for a couple of ugly scabs on his face that he has been walking around with for the last week. I’ve been calling him ‘scar face’ and trying to convince him he should let me take them off. “No way, I’ll be scarred for life.” He says. The scabs were the size and texture of bran flakes, so I told him to stay away from my bowl of cereal, because those scabs were hanging by a thread and I wasn’t fond of the idea of them falling into my breakfast. Mike just laughed and said it was a good way of adding protein to my meal. When the scabs turned a gross shade of green, I told him that was it, they’re coming off. He just laughed and pushed me away. The point is Mike is very patient…with scabs on his body and everything else, except when he is driving, but that’s another story.
All joking aside, Mike is incredibly patient. While out grocery shopping, I often bump into someone I know and stop to chat. Mike will wait…maybe peruse the magazine isle, but never complains. When he comes with me clothes shopping, I eye up the dressing room, and he eyes up a comfortable seat…never a complaint and always the response when I ask how something looks on me “You would look good in burlap, so it looks great.” He could be starving and wait another three hours to eat…he is good at waiting. Line ups, construction, flight delays, burnt dinners, doctor’s appointments…he’ll wait.
Mike continues to exercise a lot of patience as he adapts to the changes in his life caused by ALS. It takes more time and more effort to do the things he used to do with ease. Getting dressed, brushing his teeth, fixing a snack, taking a shower, tying his shoes. His speech is affected by the illness and so even when he is speaking, he will go slow, or repeat himself if something is unclear, or he will pause and smile while he waits for his lips and his brain to get on the same page. Most of us less patient people would become very frustrated, even angry. But as I watch Mike, I learn. His wonderful example of patience is teaching me something about being more patient and I am humbled.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr