One of my weekly highlights is playing UNO with my senior friends at the assisted living home near me. We have a core group of regulars and a few, including new faces, that come and go each week. I usually lead the game as it travels around the table – announcing the color needed, asking each player if they might have the number needed instead, or helping them choose a color if they play a wild card. Each player needs a different amount of help but I try my best to “keep the playing field level.” I ask questions and offer help to everyone – and only peek at someone else’s cards when absolutely necessary:)
It seems to work well. However, I am always amazed – and rather amused – how quickly some of the residents run out of patience/get annoyed with the slower players at the table. Eyes roll. Impatient prods: “C’mon, do you have a blue card, or not!!?” And even snarky jabs. (“Ugh, Edith doesn’t have a clue!!”) Really?? I so often want to remind some that they are all in assisted living….for one reason or another. But, I don’t. It’s human nature and, truth be told, I’m not immune.
It is so much easier to have patience when we recognize similar faults. When I “get where you’re coming from,” I am able to make allowance – show mercy and be patient. With others…not as much. This affects how I understand and respond to family members, friends, neighbors, strangers and those I interact, or minister, with routinely. When I sense my patience draining. When I’m mentally criticizing or being judgemental. It is time to step back and look for a different perspective. Even if I don’t always agree, I can try to understand. And, even if I don’t understand, I want a heart that is longsuffering and willing to offer grace.
One day, it might be me at that UNO table – unsure if I can play my green 8 on that blue 7. I hope the volunteer – and my friends – will be patient. And kind.