If you have been reading my blog for a few years then you know that I am really big on patience as one of the virtues. You also know that I view it as the one virtue that requires the most active practice and devotion of them all. Patience is all too often confused with passivity. When you are “in patience” you will be busier than ever and strained for time and sleep. Because patience is one of the cornerstones on which faith is built, it is the choice to become prepared without the promise of opportunity. To pursue learning and skill without knowledge of reward or an end point. It is the only thing that will allow us to take meaningless coincidence and turn it into a window of opportunity.
Things don’t happen for a reason. Things just happen. We are the one who give what happens meaning and reason. It is why two people could be in the same car and get into an accident and for one, it becomes a life changing event and for the other – just something else to get through. It is not because the first person was singled out by fate, destiny or kismet and given the accident to cause change but rather that the person has chosen to be in patience so that when something happened that presented the opportunity to be able to act on a path of destiny – they recognized it and could do something about it.
It has been an odd morning of meaningless coincidences that became opportunities for me to move in the direction of a destiny because I recognized (from what I have learned while practicing patience) what they could become. The first was simple. I have been so stretched thin by deadlines that I have barely been active for the past three weeks and physically just feel yucko. I keep thinking, “as soon as I am caught up I can get back to being physically active, “ and it just is not happening. But this morning, I did make sure I did at least a minimal amount of situps and popups and felt just a tiny bit better. But of course, I had to leave to catch my bus to my Sunday appointment. On the way there I ran into someone I have not seen in months and chatted. Briefly. Now I was going to risk missing my bus. If I miss the bus, the next one will put me where I need to be yes, but will mess with the way I can use my time to keep moving on the deadlines. I started walking fast thinking I wish I could just run when it ocurred me I could. Backpack and all. I knew how to do what is called a double time march, which is a military thing that allows you to almost jog with full gear. It is a very economical form of movement and so that is what I did. As I was double timing through the city I realized that although my time is so tight right now that I can’t go for my morning jog, I do walk everywhere and I can double time it until things calm down and I can jog again. Suddenly, I have found a way not to lose out on being physically active, get all the benefits from it and now make myself feel guilty or under pressure to make time for it.
On the bus I sat with a man and we began to talk. As we talked we discovered that we have several things in common, namely our interest and commitment to the issue of homelessness and the working poor. As the conversation began to unveil, it turns out I was sitting next to the director of an extremely innovative soup kitchen and pantry and that they were putting together a special program that everything I do with GO would fit into so well. I just got a matching fund grant for the GO academy and have been thinking/dreaming for weeks about how to bring this to kids who are homeless (and adults to) and designing a portable program. Most people around me have thought I was nuts. But….Voila!
Now we begin to make it real.
What you do or do not do when you are in a position of not being able to move forward defines whether or not your expression of patience is a virtue. The virtue of patience is demanding because you must be willing to work hard and work fast and do so without promise of reward or even the suggestion of an idea that you are learning/doing something that will be helpful.
Patience is the choice to continue to live and be when everything else around you is too confused to let you define your path.
Opportunity is when something random happens that you are prepared to act on to choose a movement down a path. You are prepared because you have practiced the art of patience.
c.2012 Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved.