Just in this past week alone, I’ve been given numerous lessons to appreciate the importance of taking life one day at a time, one step at a time. Patience really is an important virtue, especially when you’re frustrated at life not moving at the pace you want it to, or when things don’t go the way you want. Yesterday, I had an unexpected meeting with an old childhood friend of mine who’s also a deeply faithful Christian, and in our talk together, we discussed our lives as young millennials aching to be where we want to be. Our impatience won’t make our goals come any faster, and I’ve learned to just breathe and accept the value of where I am in life right now.

But of course, I have my reasons for disliking where I am now. As I’ve referenced in other blog posts, I currently work in a bagel shop that frequently tests both my patience and temper. Some of my customers can be incredibly irrational when we don’t have the bagel they want, to the point that they’ll explode on the spot and unleash a bizarre, random tirade about what’s really only a minor nuisance. Today, I had the misfortune of having to deal with an infuriated drive thru customer who blew up about my shop failing to satisfy her bagel whims after she found out that we were out of the one bagel she was interested in.

We do our best to ensure that the bagel wall is constantly, reasonably stocked, but there are times when we can’t guarantee that some bagel types will be readily available, especially anything that falls under the gourmet category, which happens to include the bagel this woman was angrily raving about. There’s a long process involved when it comes to making bagels, and it takes around 2 hours total before they’re ready. This woman had the misfortune of asking for this missing bagel at a time when our next batch was still being prepared.

And how did she react when I explained apologetically to her that we seemed to be temporarily out of the bagel she wanted? By shouting at me that every time she’d come in the drive thru for the 4th day in a row, we’d been missing that bagel, that anybody with “half a brain” would’ve thought to make more, and that she was going to call corporate about this.

Goodness.

This bizarre blip in my day brings to mind the following passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.”

As the author of Ecclesiastes noted, there’s a time for everything man can think of, for both doing and not doing. This woman, who chose to blow up over a mere bagel, has been arriving at the wrong time every day she’s come searching for this bagel, because we generally always have more bagels preparing in the back. It’s to the misfortune of her and my patience that she refuses to call ahead to reserve bagels like customers are told to do.

She, and anybody else who isn’t aware that bagels can’t just magically appear, needs to understand the process for baking bagels:

  1. Prep: Obviously, you need to make sure that the dough is prepared with the correct toppings on it.
  2. Proof: Next, we need to proof the bagels to ensure that they’ll be good and puffy.
  3. Bake: Of course, you need to actually bake the bagels, and for the right amount of time.
  4. Cool: The bagels need to cool before they can be served, because when they first come out of the oven, they’re too hot to touch and will be destroyed if we try to slice them.

Again, this process takes around 2 hours to complete, and there is always a chance for bagels to disappear like candy in the meantime, which easily happens in the morning. I wish, for her sake and mine, that this woman had simply called ahead of time. It would’ve saved us both this pointless frustration.

Let this mishap in my day serve as a reminder, to myself and others, that there is a time for everything, especially for patience, which this woman sorely lacked.