An Open Letter to Patience

"The Two Most Powerfrul Warriors are Patience and Time" - Leo Tolstoy

Dear Patience,

How can you live with yourself? Seriously. You drive me crazy.

You appear so accessible, so friendly. I see you across the room and I’m positive we could have a serious, long-term relationship. You appear so simple, so innocent. You never act too complicated to understand. When I talk about you, about the benefits you bring to a relationship, everyone nods their heads and get it. They get you.

And yet, I find myself banging my head against the wall in frustration how rarely I’ve actually embraced you. I get angry. Angry with myself. Angry with others. Not at what they’ve done, but what they don’t see in me. If you’re at my side, though, not so much. But when you’re gone, I’m a mess.

Don’t even get me started on habits I’m trying to break. As well as habits I’m trying to instill into my coding. Some of the unhealthy habits I’m attempting to break I spent decades forming. In most cases, I didn’t know better. In some, I admit, I didn’t care.

When you’re around, I comprehend how long it will take to re-wire the way in which I view my world. I appreciate habits come from repetition. When you’re at my side I understand how a mindful pause can sound so trivial on paper, without getting frustrated that  I will have to remind myself to take one a thousand times or maybe ten-thousand times until the pause becomes something I don’t have to think about doing.

When you’ve skipped town is the problem. When I begin thinking I’ll never be the thoughtful, engaged person I strive to be. The person who responds and doesn’t react. The person for whom revealing his flaws is part of an authentic relationship instead of a source of shame I use sleight of hand to misdirect attention away from, something I am extremely talented at doing.

When you’re not around, my ability to show compassion for myself dissipates like steam rising from a city sidewalk on a frigid morning. My trespasses appear monumental, and the idea I can ever overcome them brings on inertia at best, paralysis at worst.

Why can’t I hold on to you? What is it that others have I do not? I’m not jealous. I’m just jealous. What is it that enables others to walk hand-in-hand with you regardless of what happens in their lives, while I keep seeing you flit in and out of my life?

And yet, I feel the need to acknowledge, and not grudgingly, we’ve been spending more time together than ever before. Since my marriage of twenty-eight years ended last April, we’ve been starting to bond in a way that has made my life that much better. Though I’m still not the man I one day hope to be but I feel like I’m on my way.

And for that, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude, despite how fickle you often are.

Stay in touch. Connect.

Jon

P.S. If you haven’t read my latest Elephant Journal article on savoring the moment, here’s the link.  Why Carpe Diem Can Only Lead To Failure

P.P.S. A clip in which death is personified as the Grim Reaper. I couldn’t find any clips in which Patience is personified, so it will have to do.

11 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Patience

  1. Love this! I was just reading it can take on average 66 days to form a new habit. And one study showed anywhere from 18-254 days….
    Some days it just doesn’t happen….and you pick yourself back up. Keep moving forward. Your commitment to be your authentic self while also bettering yourself is admirable 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy the post resonated!

      I don’t trust anyone who says “it takes X days” to do anything. Rewiring is slow, tedious work. You’re right some days it definitely doesn’t happen for me so I try to be keenly cognizant when it does. Small victories!

      Thank you for your kind words.

      J

      Liked by 1 person

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