This is probably not a word that most people would use when describing me. I am not the most patient person. I want things to happen. Now. Not months from now, not years from now. But now. Today. Immediately. And so I became a writer. I can just see career counselors and life coaches all over the place just shaking their heads. Because writing is all about the patience. The hurry up and wait. A one page at a time sort of existence. I can’t just get up one morning with a brilliant idea and sit down at 9 with a latte in hand and chuck out 400 pages of brilliant text and be done with the idea before the I have to fly off for martinis at 5 somewhere hip and happening.
I have to live ideas for months and sometimes years, before they even get to the front of the queue and then they have a good six to nine months of nagging at me to sit my butt down and work. Yes, work. At times banging my head against the keyboard because the words won’t come, and other times against the walls when others get the bonuses or perks that I want, yet they seem to get with very little effort on their part.
Impatience has a way of coloring your gaze with jealously.
But over the last few years I’ve found that I have more patience than I thought I did. Or maybe I’ve learned how to live with patience. Or I’ve come to “a-hem” a certain age where patience is a little more embraceable. The funny thing is, that when you go along with the notion of being patient, of waiting, of letting life run its course and the right path will open up for you, one step at a time, the world moves along at a much smoother pace. A lot less wall banging.
I suppose one thing that taught me this is knitting. Yes, knitting. Talk about the ultimate craft in patience. A sweater is knit one stitch at a time. Take a look at a sweater and imagine how many stitches go into that. Knit one at a time, over and over again. This is the second part of patience–the faith part of it. That if you take that one stitch at a time, write one page at a time, with each step you are closer to finishing. The other day I picked up a sock I had set down last fall and hadn’t finished. I had forgotten how to turn the heel–which is the part of knitting that makes that pocket for your heel and turns the sock that 90 degrees you need to go. Now my problem was that I tried to do it at 10 at night. After several frustrating attempts and some really bad knitting, I nearly tossed the entire thing in the garbage. Instead, the next day, I sat down at the table, with instructions right in front of me, a latte at my side and turned that darn heel. One stitch at a time.
Matthew’s autism has probably also had a hand in getting me to this place. We spend months on waiting lists for services. We spent so much time on one list, by the time his name came to the top for help, he was too old for the program. But on the other hand, as I look over the past five years that we’ve been coping with this issue, that when that call comes, that slot becomes available, it is the right time for him to have those services. The right TA, like our beloved Kelsey, or an awesome teacher, like his Mr. Perkins, comes into our life and helps bring Matthew one step at a time out of the isolation that autism is.
Patience is faith. Faith that our footsteps are being guided and that what we really need (as opposed to what we jump through hoops and run in circles convinced that we need) will be there when we can put it to best use.
What have you been avoiding? What are you impatiently waiting for, yet never seems to happen? What steps, rather than leaps, will get you there?