“Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.” I like this definition of patience shared by Barbara Johnson, one of my favorite authors/humorists.
I will save you the trouble of hunting down my sister, son, daughter, or anyone else who has known me for any length of time and just confess it outright — until 5 years ago, patience was never my strong suit.
For the first 40+ years of my life, once I determined an idea was a good one, I wanted to act on it right away. It wasn’t so much that I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. It was more that I didn’t like loose ends, and to me, a project on the table was a loose end. Things would not be neat and tidy again until the project was completed.
This tendency (my sister is wrong — it was not an obsession!) had more than a few benefits. My husband loved it when I got the urge to rearrange the living room in the middle of the afternoon while he was at work; I’d huff and puff, struggle and strain, but it would be done before he got home that evening. Bosses generally loved it. Given a task, I’d have it done — and done correctly, I want to add — right away. No waiting until the deadline for me!
My lack of patience also created problems. Waiting in line or sitting in a traffic jam was torture for me. No matter how calm I might make myself appear on the outside, I was emotionally itchy.
That all changed when my husband passed away. For awhile, of course, I was simply numb. Once the numb wore away, I was left with a very new, healthier perspective on what is and isn’t important.
I haven’t become a procrastinator by any means, and I still complete assigned tasks and paperwork as quickly as possible; however, I’ve become more comfortable with allowing things to unfold in their own time.
The concept of patience has been on my mind these past few weeks. Now that I know what I want to do in this next stage of my life, I’m eager to get started. I hear the voice of John Wayne saying, “We’re burning daylight”, and I begin to feel a bit antsy.
I’m ready. Ready to move from where I am to where I want to be.
The problem is, I don’t know where that where will be. I know what lifestyle I want, but not where I will be engaged in that lifestyle.
And so . . . I wait. And I prepare. And I practice patience.
Oh, how I want to load up my car, jump in the front seat, and roar off. Instead, I remain here, my engine idling.