“When it is ready, it will bloom,” Marie Forleo. Patience is not my strong suit—never has been and I get this feeling it will only marginally improve with great effort. That isn’t a disparaging remark, that’s an acknowledgement of who I am. I’ve often woke up in the morning and set my intention to be patient and allow only to find myself screaming in traffic an hour later. I tend to give up if I’m not getting results immediately. Just last night I dreamt about plants growing before my eyes in a sped up time-lapse and when I looked it up, it talked about needing to be patient. I mean, this is a common theme for me, even in my sleep.
Even though I haven’t been able to execute patience well, it is still something I work toward. I ask for it, I pray for it, I breathe for it. There was a line in “Evan Almighty” (I know, it’s silly) that asks, “If people ask for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?” Sometimes it’s not about being given what you want, it’s about practicing what you say you want until it becomes real.
Change is a constant—our lives aren’t meant to stay stagnant. We aren’t meant to live the way we’ve designed this system where we wake up, go to work, sit at a desk all day, go home, mindlessly watch TV, sleep, and repeat the next day. Waiting to be allowed to take time off, needing to ask permission to take care of our families, always looking for the weekend. I believe this is where patience comes in: we are constantly looking outside of ourselves for relief or for the next moment that makes us feel good. We are trained to look forward, never allowing ourselves to take in the moment mainly because the present moment often doesn’t feel good. We aren’t doing what we are meant to. And for those of us who take the leap to venture toward what we want, it can feel terrifying if the results we want aren’t showing immediately.
I’ve learned that patience is it’s own beautiful reward—that is why I still ask for it. I’m well aware of the benefits of being patient even if I’m not yet able to put it into practice consistently. But I won’t stop because I see how allowing things to bloom in their own time means they are ready and able to show you what they’re made of at their best. We need to learn to appreciate the developing. We praise people for the result and not for the work that it takes to get there, as if what we are seeing happens overnight. We ignore the effort as something dirty and beneath us, forgetting that the sweat and tears of our work are what watered the ground for us to grow.
I’ve been given opportunity after opportunity to be patient as I’ve worked toward my goals. With our forever home, we put in 13 offers on 10 properties before getting what was ultimately the perfect house for us. Each time we got a rejection it felt like the end of the world—and we were about to pull the contract on our house several times. But persevering ultimately got us what we were meant to have. I have a marketing project at work that hasn’t really taken off but it is a passion of mine—so I’ve kept going. After two years, my team finally has the opportunity to move forward with the changes in the organization. I have patience for the things that matter—I know when to persist. And every time it blooms, I am in awe.
There is a season for everything and it is very clear that as we allow things to come in their own time, they will show you what they are made of. There’s a reason why some plants flower in spring and some in the fall—they know their time. While it’s challenging to admit that not everything is for us, the things that are meant for us are just that much sweeter. Patience derived from effort is humbling and lasting. It is something to practice. If I can do it for the big things, I can learn to be patient with the every day nuances as well. Stay present and remember the effort has a purpose.