Father Eugene Hemrick

Have you ever listened to the sound of horns on the streets? Some may be gentle, trying to move traffic ahead, while others may warn a car or person of danger. And then there are the loud, continuous horns of nervous, impatient drivers.

Car horns are lifesavers. I own a Toyota Prius. When it runs on battery power, it is incredibly quiet. I often must use my horn when people crossing the street do not hear me coming.

There have been times when I was warned by another driver that I was too close to his or her automobile.

Horns are also used to alert someone their car is waiting for them.

When all the benefits of a horn are added up, they come down to it being an invaluable safety device.

However, nervous, impatient drivers blasting their horns can also suggest a disturbing growing trend: hyperimpatience and intolerance.

Patience implores us, “Do not let anything break your spirit.” Impatience, on the other hand, is a breakdown in that spirit alerting us that our ability to patiently wait is waning or that we are a chronically on-edge person.

What might be contributing to hypernervous impatience? One thing for sure is speed. Not only are cars faster, but we live at a faster pace than any generation before us. Take for example the ever-increasing speed of our computers, air travel and overnight package deliveries. When delays happen, up goes the blood pressure.

What might be a way to counter this?

In the spiritual world, there is the practice of focusing prayer. In the morning when we wake, a short one sentence invocation is recited like, “Lord keep me calm and in control of my emotions.” At noon and in the evening, the same invocation is repeated.

Focusing prayer is exactly what it sounds like: prayer to center us on a particular behavior. It acts as a constant reminder to address a particular behavior needing attention.

The speed at which we live today tends to make us run when we should be walking. If not controlled, it can run us into the ground.