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Everyone knows that during the month of December lines can be long and traffic miserable. Even knowing that, we sometimes forget to bring patience along with us. We forget to allow extra time for traveling or waiting in line. More than that, we forget that everyone has their own agenda – a place to be and things to buy.

We all have somewhere else we’d rather be than waiting in line. It doesn’t matter if it is the line at the grocery store, the mall, the TSA security line we all have a time clock ticking away in our heads.

What to do, how to handle this gracefully?

Here are my suggestions.
1. Pack your patience and don’t forget grace! If someone is being short-tempered, put yourself in their shoes.

2. Grace Give people you encounter the grace of understanding. Maybe they have not allowed as much extra time as you have. Maybe the clerk at the check-out counter is having a hard day with lots of customers in a hurry.

3. Remember to Breathe practice inhaling and exhaling. Focusing your attention on your breath – the inhale and exhale – has a calming effect and will take your mind off of waiting in line.

4. Smile Look at the person facing you, connect with them and smile. A smile is a wonderful, warm greeting. It relaxes the tension in your face. It also gives you and the person receiving the smile a good feeling. Share smiles.

5. Be Kind Kindness costs you nothing and the blessings you receive are endless.

Here are 5 simple, free, examples of ways to show kindness
1.Hold the door open for the person coming behind you.
2. Give a friend a compliment
3. Let a car in front of you
4. Let a person cut the line in front of you – particularly if they have children with them!
5. Smile!

I bet if you put your mind to it, you could think of other ways to show kindness.
Remember as you go about your days to bring patience, grace and kindness along with you.



  • Diane- I LOVE this post and your beautiful reminders and suggestions for practicing patience and grace! With the hustle and bustle of the season, taking a moment to smile, to connect, to hold the door, to let another car go first, can infuse this season with positivity and gentleness. We need more of this in the world. These “free” gifts, as you said, are essential and can improve our daily lives and the people we encounter.

    I’m not a huge fan of waiting in line, but it’s part of life whether it’s at the airport, a restaurant or the grocery store. Sometimes I use that time as a type of meditation. I enlist my senses. What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, or noticing? Or I breathe and remind myself that waiting is also part of living. It’s an opportunity to pause and practice patience.

    • admin says:

      Thank you, Linda! I’m not at good at waiting either and so have come up with the idea of practicing more intentional breathing as a way to pass the time. I love that you use the waiting time as a time to enlist your senses.

  • I’ve often witnessed the power of a smile. Sometimes when I’m out walking and my mind is wandering, a stranger will suddenly smile when they see me, and I realize it’s because I’m smiling about something I’m thinking about. It’s contagious!

  • Thank you for these wonderful reminders Diane! I try to shop early so I don’t have to spend as much time in the lines in December, but there are always things we need to get at the last minute. I will work on applying your tips to make the time less stressful!

  • Seana Turner says:

    We were just talking about waiting in Sunday School with the kids yesterday. We talked about how Advent is about waiting, and how most of us really don’t like waiting. Allowing someone to “get in line” before us adds to our waiting, but is a true gift of selflessness. I think of the times people let me go ahead of them in the ladies’ room when I had little ones… how thankful I was. We are most able to offer these gifts when we are not in a rush ourselves, so whatever we can do to alleviate time pressure increases our ability to give these free gifts.

  • This post is a welcome reminder. We tend to forget with all the hustle and bustle to be kind and patient. I find that if I go out earlier in the day it’s less stressful because there are fewer people at the shops in the middle of the day. I do this whenever I have to go to the large mall near us. It helps keep me calmer.