Foolishly, I used to think of myself as a patient person, but over the last few years, my opinion has greatly changed.
Of course, circumstances matter in that assessment. I can contain my frustration and maintain a level head through an afternoon of sisterly bickering or tired, whiny and needy children. Most of the time I can quietly pick up the messes left behind by forgetful family members. And usually, I don’t let last minute schedule changes or guests interfere with my positive mood.
But when I decide to do something, it has become increasingly clear that I can’t wait another second. For instance, when I decided to cut my hair last month, I made the appointment within a couple of days. You would think that hacking off nearly 16 inches of hair would take a few days of contemplation.
Last weekend I decided to rearrange our home school classroom and take over the dining room in order to get my living room back. Instead of making the change over a few days, I got it all done in a few hours.
Last night was also no exception. A wonderful friend offered a soft pink children’s chaise lounge to my youngest daughter for her room. It has hardly been used in her house, and now both of her girls are too grown. My little one was over the moon with excitement with the prospect of having her own “reading” chair. I made sure to pick up the item right away. Then my husband carried it up to her room after dinner, and of course, rather than let it sit until the morning, I felt the need to rearrange my daughter’s whole room to accommodate the new piece of furniture.
What could be so wrong with immediate action? After all, isn’t it better to be a “doer” rather than a “planner”? Perhaps. Except that in the process of all of my “doing” I didn’t make time to put fresh sheets on beds I had already stripped, or finish folding clean laundry piled high in baskets. I also hadn’t made sure groceries and food planning had been completed or restocked barren snack bins. It also came to my attention that paperwork my husband had asked me to look for wasn’t handy, nor were lesson plans I needed by Monday morning. Late last night became a mad dash of sprinting around, throwing sheets in rooms, figuring out school lunches and schedules on the fly while sorting out piles of clean clothes for family members in need. If I had just taken a minute to complete tasks I had started, prioritized just a little, and then start new projects, I wouldn’t have felt like I just survived a tornado. And my family wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed or stressed while I figured out where to move furniture and store items we weren’t going to use for a while.
Sometimes it isn’t what we get done that matters as much as when we get it done. Perhaps patience really is a virtue.
“Why is patience so important?”
“Because it makes us pay attention.”
― Paulo Coelho