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Patience is underrated

August 20, 2012

Today my daughter had an orthodontic appointment. As this is her second year with braces on, we are old hands at these appointments. We arrived, she checked in, headed back to brush her teeth and then sat and waited to be called. Another woman and her daughter arrived at the same time as we did and the daughter went through the same set of steps as mine did. I took my seat, pulled out my sock in progress and settled in. A few minutes later both girls were called for their appointments.

As I sat working on my sock I couldn’t help but watch the other woman in the waiting room with me. She was constantly moving, getting up to get a magazine, sitting back down to read it for a few minutes, reaching in to her purse for her phone, checking that for a moment, getting back up, getting another magazine, sitting back down . . . It was a never ending cycle. After about 20 minutes her actions were interspersed with checking her watch and heaving loud sighs. I continued to work on my sock and watch her out of the corner of my eye.

After a time, maybe another 25 minutes of constant pacing, she sat down a few chairs away from me and asked what I was doing. I replied that I was knitting a sock. She seemed rather taken aback by that. “A sock? Who knits a sock?” was followed up quickly by, “I could never to that. I don’t have any patience for that sort of thing.” And finally came the, “who would even wear knitted socks anyway? You can buy them by the dozen for $10.” Before I even had time to answer one of her questions, her daughter came out of the back and they left, telling the receptionist she didn’t have time to schedule another appointment now and she would have to call later.

As I sat there, knitting another round of my sock and wishing it would go faster that it was, I couldn’t help but think about how that woman was in the waiting room. That could have been me five years ago. I am not a patient person. In fact, I am the opposite of patient. I hate waiting for things and I generally get pretty upset if I believe that I am waiting too long for something. Except when I have yarn and needles in my hands. If I am knitting on something, I can patiently sit and knit just about anywhere. I am grateful for a few more stolen moments to knit and get a project just a little closer to completion. Airplane rides are more pleasant and I look forward to waiting rooms. I am OK with life moving a little slower.

I didn’t have patience to start knitting. Knitting taught me to have patience. For that, I am profoundly grateful.

I think I will slip a pair of bamboo needles and some cotton yarn into my bag for the next trip to the orthodontist. Perhaps I can use the time to teach someone else to knit and give them the gift of being able to be a little more patient.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. lawlady1 permalink
    August 21, 2012 5:22 pm

    I agree. I am much more patient with something productive in my hands. I learned, long ago, that waiting room magazines do not hold my interest, but knitting needles and a sock are portable and you can see a lot of progress in a short amount of time. I think the focus on the item in one’s hands helps overcome the relative impatience in the world. Waiting is far less painful when your hands are occupied. Great story!


  1. Patience is underrated « The Wisdom of Knitting

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