Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

April 23, 2006


When your patience runs out it is time to walk out


      Thursday was a miserable day. It started with an early morning Bible study. The instructor kept talking about me. I could not wait to get out of there.

          All he could talk about was patience. He began listing the ways most men are impatient. Normally I take notes but not Thursday. It would have looked like a confessional. Somebody might read it. I glanced at my watch. Good grief! I still had 45 minutes to endure.

          Our leader seemed unusually cheerful as he ranted on and on. Why not? He was not confessing his own sins; no, none of that. He was too busy stepping on our toes, especially mine.

          Men reveal their impatience when buying fast food, he said. We complain if it takes 10 minutes instead of five to receive our order. What is wrong with that? Fast food should be fast food. Who wants to waste gas for 10 minutes in a drive-thru line? There are things to do.

          Then he attacked grocery shopping of all things. I had to admit he was right. When I turn the corner at the last aisle and head toward the check-out lines, I feel like a stallion at the Kentucky Derby. Seeing a short line, I race to beat a little old lady pushing a ton of groceries. I win, only to discover that in front of me is another old lady with two tons of groceries in her cart. The thrill of victory fades into the agony of defeat.

          Male impatience is obvious on the highway. We risk accidents trying to keep another fellow from cutting in front of us. On the interstate some of are control freaks; we want to control what lane other cars can use. I admit; I am guilty. I hate to move over for some nut driving 85 mph.

          Guys are also impatient with their wives; he had to bring them up. He said, “You get home at dark, tired from a long day at work, and supper is not ready. The house is not cleaned. So you bark at your wife, demanding to know what on earth she has been doing.”

          Finally I was off the hook. My wife cook supper? You have got to be kidding. I can’t remember when she cooked a meal. We always eat out. Doesn’t everybody? I disconnected the stove in our kitchen back in ‘04 so the clock on it would not use so much electricity. New homes do not even have kitchen stoves these days, do they?

          I was puzzled. Do women still do house cleaning? I thought they had given that up for Lent years ago. My wife’s idea of house cleaning is to point me toward the vacuum cleaner. Why me? It is too heavy for her, she says. I finally bought a good one but it is heavy, so it is mine.

          We used to wash dishes together, one of those fun things we enjoyed as a happily married couple. She washed and I dried. Now we have a dish washer. All the fun is gone and it takes twice as long to do the dishes. She washes them by hand and then puts them in the dish washer. I have to turn away; that is too much for me. Why wash the dishes twice? When she is not looking, I refuse to put the detergent in the dish washer. I can save a little that way since the dishes are already washed, but I hate using all that expensive hot water.

          Suddenly guilt swept over me. I realized how really impatient I am with my wife – about the pillows on the bed and moving furniture. I started to sweat, hoping the men at my table would not notice. Why can’t I relax about having 19 pillows piled on our bed? Why is a bed not made up until all those pretty pillows are arranged neatly at the head?

          Years ago, back in ’01 I think, I gave up arguing about the pillows. I get rid of my frustration by tossing the pillows, one at a time, on the other side of the room each night. I thought she would be proud of me for making fun out of a problem. That has not happened yet.

          Why do women have to move furniture? I think my wife missed her calling. She could have had a great career with Mayflower or Bekins. I finally learned not to argue with her. She gave up on asking me to help. Now she moves everything around while I am at work. That is why she wants to continue working – so she can be free to re-arrange the furniture.

          I must admit our Bible study did end finally on a positive note. Our leader gave us a line that has saved our marriage a thousand times: “When your patience runs out it is time to walk out.” That is why I am so healthy; I enjoy walking. Whenever my patience runs out, my wife always points to the door, reminding me that it is time to walk out.

          Yes, confound it, I am impatient. But I am also one lucky old man. Despite my impatience, my sweet wife has not walked out on me yet. She just keeps pointing to the door. And I get to walk a lot.  + + + +