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Day 161: Patience

“The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” Arnold H. Glasgow

There are still moments when something inside me refuses to just go with it. Air travel provokes some deep seated impatience in me. I am spending eight hours connecting and reconnecting to go a distance that should take two and half flight hours. Boarding, de-boarding and sitting in terminals eats away at my stamina and my ability to think positive thoughts. I search for a way to re-think the circumstance and then remember how much it cost for the opportunity and feel even worse. 

I have thought about patience before and I know that it is more than waiting, it is the ability to keep going when things are hard and slow. I focus on filling the time with something else and try not to feed the indignation that my time is not my own.

This is why patience has long been called the companion of wisdom because finding a way to give up a sense of control over the details while maintaining a focus on the long-term is the lynchpin of success. There are many places in my life where my passion has been tamed into a patient capacity to persist. I know how powerful the practice is and that Benjamin Franklin was indeed correct when he said, “He that can have Patience, can have what he will.” But when I am in herds of people, and my will fades into the din, as the hours wear on, something snaps. I lose sight of the gifts of the trip or the curiosity of what is to come and I am stuck ruminating on the discomfort of life out of my control.

This is the last vestiges of immaturity that I have to shed because the truth is that learning to wait, to hold myself steady in the ups and downs of getting somewhere is a true metaphor for all the other dreams I juggle in the air. This quote by Rilke is the one that comes to mind every time I am impatient- it seems like it fits as I wait for the last leg of my ride home, too. It is worthy of a spot on anyone’s refrigerator…

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions.”