Monday, July 25, 2011

Patience is a virtue

When it comes to trying to teach me something new, I’m not always the best student.

A few years ago we rented a cabin at a ski resort with a bunch of friends.

I was one of only a few who had never skied before, but we all went in with high hopes of at least giving it a whirl.

It was a ski-in, ski-out resort, so the easiest way to get to the slopes was to actually ski there. Well that’s not necessarily the most ideal way to try skiing for the first time, if you ask me. I ended up taking off my skis and hiking well behind everyone else, my skis slung over my shoulders and my legs already cramping from the uncomfortablness that is a ski boot.

By the time we reached the destination, I thought everyone was kidding me. Looking out ahead of us was a hill—a perfectly groomed, glistening slope of white powder—but a hill nonetheless. Remember, I had NEVER been on skis before.

I threw a tantrum that rivals those of toddlers begging for candy at the grocery store. “How the hell am I supposed to get down that?” I shouted. “You’re supposed to start me on the damn bunny hill!”

Sean, who skied competitively in high school, very nicely explained that we had to get down this small hill (half of a hill really) to get to the ski lift that would take us to the bunny hill. When he started explaining how to turn, I shouted back, “Shouldn’t you teach me how to SKI before you teach me how to TURN?!?”

“Skiing is turning, honey,” he calmly explained. It was an ugly few minutes but we eventually made our way to the bunny hill, not without streaks of tears and mascara staining my face though. Over the course of that trip, he continued to be a great teacher, never losing his patience or snapping back at his short-tempered girlfriend. I never quite picked up the sport, whether for lack of skill or lack of effort I’m not entirely sure, but Sean put in a valiant teaching effort.  
I was reminded of Sean’s impressive patience this weekend. We decided to take a trip to the driving range so he could get some swings in before the upcoming memorial golf tournament for his dad. Mini golf aside, I’ve only hit a golf ball once before.

A couple divots and handful of whiffs later, I was already frustrated and ready to give up.

And here we were again. Sean never lost his cool, never got frustrated or upset with me. He patiently told me where to place my feet and calmly instructed me on a better hand position. He stood quietly behind me and watched my motion, helping me to realize when I took my eye off the ball or forgot to straighten my wrists. Later, he taught me the art of chip shots and waited time and time again for me to get it down (as much as “getting it down” is for a first-time golfer).
I walked away with a new appreciation for the game of golf. But even more, I walked away even more amazed by this incredible man who in less than 11 months I’ll be calling my husband! His patience, his love for teaching, his genuine enjoyment in time spent together—all of these are things I’ve always known about him. But in a simple evening at the golf course, I was once again reminded of how lucky I am to have someone like him in my life. (And I couldn’t help but imagine him teaching our future children. He’s going to be a great dad someday!)
Seeing as how I am seriously lacking in the patience department, I could probably take a lesson in that from him, too.

1 comment:

  1. This reminds me so much of my own husband! He is so patient and CALM when he's showing anyone how to do something. Such good qualities to have! Your husband sounds like a total sweetie.

    (and I would have been freaking out about the skiing, too!)