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While returning from our morning walk, my black lab Sophie sat patiently waiting at the curb. The seventh grader, waiting a ways down the street, asked what was wrong with her. I explained she was waiting for a couple of puppy friends. Today she waited longer. I got her to walk up the sidewalk, a bit closer to home. But again she sat and waited patiently, looking in the direction they usually walk from. But they never came and we had to come home.
That experience reminded me about a topic that I’ve been meaning to write about, patience. As a child I was like a Mexican jumping bean, bouncing from one activity to another. I’m not sure that patience was always in my vocabulary. Oh I do remember some glimpses of hope for patience. One in particular at summer camp. There was a little girl, about my age, who was completely deaf. I’d never met someone deaf before and could only imagine how alone she must have felt. Even as a problem-solver at an early age, I copied the sign language section of the Encyclopedia Britannica and brought it to camp. I worked my hands to spell words to communicate with her. It took a lot of patience on both of our parts.
And there have been additional times in my life where patience is all I had, patience and prayers I should say. Picked on in middle school, I almost had the “And this shall soon pass” attitude. I assisted the nuns cleaning the church pews and holy water after school and was rewarded with a candy bar and once a baby Jesus figurine on a cotton ball that I treasured. In the end my patience paid off. In graduating from eighth grade, I received an American Legion medal and The Most Religious Award. Ironically, I wasn’t baptized Catholic. But patience transcends barriers.
Now as an adult, I find myself using patience in compartments in my life. I can be patient with people working an event such as a tradeshow. Yet, I lose patience with people when I’m on the move in traffic, waiting in lines where decisions could have been premade and with people close to me. I fight to not become a crotchety person. In “My Midlife,” obviously I’m not totally there yet.
But in reflecting on patience and what’s wrong with me in losing mine, I’ve come to one conclusion. Like Sophie, my friends have not come. Now it could it be my friends, the husband that would stay through thick and thin or the job that I wanted. You can fill in the blank. We all have a wish list of one day dreams and things we have to wait on to go to the next step or stage in life. But in those steps, people around us are on their own timetables, just as we are on our own timetable. Like Sophie, we’ve been let down, not able to see that glimmer of hope. But somehow we have to look past those let downs and remember there’s a bigger picture. New friends will come when need be, and we will be a friend to others when we least expect it. My husband-to-be is still being molded, just as I am as a wife. And the job? Well, I’ve been working hard starting a writing business this year. This week I hit it big, published by a big wig company and more prospective projects have come my way. Ultimately, we have to wait for the timing. But in that waiting, improve ourselves, our skills and our appreciation of where we are in life. We will never be where we are today again and we need to make the most of it and be patient.