… And All The I’s Are Crossed
Seems like almost every day I see young people make mistakes, mistakes that could be avoided if they simply had this little thing, this tiny but oh-so-valuable quality called… patience.
It’s true. Patience. So many perfectly good ideas never see their proper conclusion because the people who had those ideas tried to force their conclusion, tried to hurry their success, because they felt they were on some sort of clock. Well, they were right! But it was the wrong clock!
How many times have we seen, or been a part of, a premature celebration of a positive event, that ended up not happening because of some unforeseen circumstances. To celebrate a thing before it’s completed, or official, or signed off on, is to be too impatient, and not understanding of time and process in this world.
I used to be that way, at least a little bit. I suppose it’s natural to want satisfaction of certain things right now. But we get carried away with the idea of “time is of the essence…” which of course it is, but often not in the way we think of. Rushing to completion, and therefor satisfaction of something completed, is human nature, I know. But that ‘rushing to completion” totally ignores, or is unaware of, the understanding of time and life as a natural unfolding of events, much like a flower waits for the sun and rain to hit it just right.
Our inability to understand when a thing is done, that we either rush to complete it, leaving it unfinished, or we tweak it beyond its apex of quality, is responsible for much of our mediocrity… especially in the artistic world. We could learn so much from our natural world, from observing what has worked so beautifully over the centuries. Nature is nothing, if not patient. The seasons come and go so predictably, well at least they used to. Of course now nature is responding to our greed, our lack of foresight, our lack of understanding that all actions have consequences.
How often I’ve said to myself, “If only I had waited a little longer, if only I’d been a little more patient.” And I know, I know – so many times there is not a right time… that a thing simply has to be done. But not celebrations of success. We need to understand that happy celebrations can explode into disappointment, anger, confusion and finger-pointing unless all the I’s are crossed, and all the T’s are dotted.
My dad was patient, my mom was not. They were fun to watch and listen to when debating what to do and when to do it. Mom often told me, “Your father has three speeds… slow, stop and reverse.” She was always, “Now Guy, we need to do this thing, because da da, da da,” while Dad was, ‘Darlin,’ I understand all that. Let’s have a little drink now, and talk this thing over a little more.” Almost always an agreement was reached, as my dad’s calm and quieting voice was what Mom most needed to hear. Knowing that, because of Dad’s patience and understanding, everything would ultimately be okay, she would settle down and be open to his point of view.
I got, probably genetically, just enough of my dad’s patience to make my life quite a bit smoother than it might otherwise have been. I could rush, if I had to, being young, energetic and ambitious. But I could also sit back from time to time, relax and reflect on current events in my life, and was able to make some thought-through choices that ended up serving me very well. I need to admit here that, over the years, that patience has slowly turned into procrastination, even laziness… but so what, my work has been done.
I now see the quality of patience as a necessary article of of a successful and insightful life. I am grateful for the little bit of it I had, and how clearly, in old age, I now see it’s value. For it seems to me that the the earth, its nature, well hell, even karma, the universe, and whatever you think holds power, wants us to breathe… just breathe and be patient. Because in the end, the very nature of our lives suggests that all things in their own time, that everything is in place, happening in just the right order, at just the right time, and that our personal, and often selfish perception of it doesn’t change a hair of it. Not a hair. Except of course, the outcome we hoped for and expected.
To take a large, slow breath is to begin to realign ourselves with the pulse of the rest of the natural world. It starts feeling a little better whenever we stop, breathe, and count our blessings. And it brings a little peace when we remember to cross our I’s and dot our T’s. And I can tell you that, right now, my eyes are definitely crossed.