“If you have patience, you can cook stone” goes the ancient African proverb. The adage hints at the “magical” abilities one possesses through imbibing this noble virtue. Gone are the days when the pace of humanity was the momentum of a horse or donkey pulling a cart or carriage. Picture about a hundred and something horses pulling a moving contraption, that’s where we are today.
Influenced by the pace of life and activity, there seems to be some form of hurry when doing the things we do. Technology has also increased this tendency with the speed at which gadgets and devices perform. Consequently, we have become a generation of instant gratification. There’s a profound immediacy to our needs, wants and desires.
Success that takes decades of work and effort to manifest, we crave for it in months, if not weeks. Skills that take years upon years of mastery to achieve, we want to wish it upon ourselves just like that. Nature doesn’t function that way.
The way the universe has been created, everything works according to fixed laws, which manifest in line with given periods. Just like there are periods of light and darkness, seasons of warmth and cold, there are time spans to different things in creation. Human existence is not excluded from this natural principle.
These days, patience has become so scarce. Judging by happenings, it’s clear to see people have very short fuses. We are not patient with ourselves talk less of being patient with others. Little wonder why there’s so much tension in the world. Disagreement and chaos almost everywhere because we’ve lost the patience required to tolerate ourselves.
Like charity, patience too must begin from home. It starts with the self. Just how patient are we with ourselves when trying to learning a new skill? How often do we bear with our low resolve when unlearning a bad habit? How well do we handle the impatience, irritation and frustration that comes when looking for a frequently-used item that has gone missing? How well do we manage tension in traffic? How many can endure tedious tasks without whining or complaining? If we can’t be patient with ourselves, how can we be patient with others?
Sometimes, circumstances put us in a certain position where we have to wait. This is often a tasking process. In such times, we are faced with feelings of anxiety, doubt, pessimism, sometimes even frustration and despair.
The waiting game is one of the most difficult mental games to play. It tests the character in different ways. Faith and hope especially are put to the test. Sometimes the wait tarries so much that one may start to feel like “maybe I’ve waited too long.”
Being aware that everything has a process however, would help us prepare and condition our minds towards patiently observing the wait as the process unfolds. Everything still comes back to patience. Patience is the only way to win the waiting game. It means having the will and resilience to watch time and observe its patterns. Losing patience is like letting go of the trigger before locking in on the target. Misfiring is a must.
When anticipating something however, we need to know just what is involved. It’s easy to wallow in the wait and not be ready when what you are waiting for shows up. It’s important to know the difference between waiting and wasting time. We must know when to stay and when to act.
Seeking patience would help in avoiding most of the emotional battles we fight daily. It provides the introspection required to view the subtle reasons behind doubtful moments and trying times. Although patience doesn’t come easy to most, activities like art, crafting, fishing, meditation and others that involve introspection, self-discipline and calm, help one in learning the virtue overtime.
Patience is knowing time. Patience is a graceful walk. Patience teaches the individual to carry one’s self in a way that shows acceptance of and contentment with the moment. It reveals a certain peace in knowing that what must be must be, at the appointed time. It shows that the human spirit has transcended anxiety and desperation.