I used to work with a woman who’s favorite saying was,“Never pray for patience because you’re just asking to be tested.”
The older I got, the more I understood what she meant, which was, the only way we can learn patience is by actually having to use it, and by golly, the universe is going to make us do just that. Which means we live our lives waiting, trusting and facing many unknowns, when what we’d really like to do is control the universe and make things happen NOW.
Patience is an act of confidence in the universe
Have you ever watched a dog sit still with a dog biscuit balanced on his nose? He waits, patiently, for the “okay” to snatch it out of the air. Why does he wait? He has been taught that if he has a bit of patience and self-control, eventually the reward will come.
Just as a farmer can’t hurry a harvest into existence, or an angler can’t make a fish bite…we can’t rush the ordered steps that must unfold in their own time.
About 20 or so years ago I started writing furiously in my journal about wanting to be a writer. Every day I would get up, make coffee and spend a half hour with that notebook writing about how much I wanted to write, how I had no idea how to become a writer, and how disappointed I was with myself that I wasn’t writing more.
I would beseech the universe to show me the path to get started. The fact that I already WAS writing in my journal every day obviously wasn’t enough, because that wasn’t “real writing,” you know, the kind of writing that pays money and gets published.
The universe has a plan and it isn’t going to tell you what it is…
There was no way on earth that I could have known back then what the universe’s plan was for me. All I know is I spent years putting my hopes and dreams onto those journal pages, worked at several jobs, made mistakes, did foolish things, had some victories and kept pondering where I was heading. I didn’t realize it then, but it turns out that every good and bad thing taught me something new that I would need as my future self.
…see, that’s how the mysterious universe works. It is perfectly happy to give us things that we don’t want, nor think we need.
That’s the weird thing about going through life. Sometimes we just look at difficult times and mediocre moments as icky things to get through and past when, in fact, they are the little building blocks in the stairway that will take us to where we need to be.
…But if you’re patient the plan will eventually unfold
I didn’t know way back then that I would have to lose my job, in a most unpleasant and hurtful way, in order to find the door to a writing career. Believe me, I would never have wished a job loss for myself. But, see, that’s how the mysterious universe works. It is perfectly happy to give us things that we don’t want, nor think we need, in order to move us closer to becoming who we are destined to be.
Just as a farmer can’t hurry a harvest into existence, or an angler can’t make a fish bite, or a gardener can’t hasten the spring to come, or a pre-teen can’t suddenly become of legal age just because he wants to drive, we can’t rush the ordered steps that must unfold in their own time.
These days, as hard as it may be, when I feel impatient about something, I try to remember that it is probably one of those moments given to me by the universe that is silently instilling in me something I will be grateful for in my future.
* from the 1970s Kung Fu television series
photo source: Here