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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


I must admit that patience is not a virtue which I have in great abundance. I hate waiting on things to happen, often I blunder forward in my haste to bring about a desired end. So, it is with wonderful irony that the Universe conspires to teach me patience, presenting me with endless opportunities to wait. You would think that by now I would have learned this lesson, but even to this day I find myself challenged.

There are many good reasons to wait. Sometimes what we hope for or want to see happen simply is not ripe yet. In situations where timing is critical, waiting can mean the difference between failure and success. At other times, waiting provides a necessary pause, an enforced period of reflection in which to consider the wisdom of our intentions. Waiting has saved me from making more than a few mistakes that would have cost me dearly.

I don’t want you to think I’ve learned nothing, I am getting better at this though I still fall short on occasion. I have come to see waiting as a gift of time rather than an obstacle to be overcome. In those moments of quiet while I wait for the rain to slacken, the nurse to call me from the waiting room, the line in front of me to move, and the inevitable traffic jam to dissipate, I allow myself to think about things I am grateful for in my life. The time passes quickly and before I know it, I need wait no longer. But it is the longer intervals when I find myself wanting for patience. Those times when I am waiting for a particularly vexing situation to resolve, for things to get better. I know they will, and that is the funny part. On some intuitive level I know that the adversity of the moment will pass. Perhaps I should say that I trust that it will. I trust because I have reason to. I cannot say that every obstacle I’ve encountered has always been resolved as I would have hoped. But I can say that despite some dark nights of the soul, I am the better for the outcomes that in time prevailed.

Of course, when you are waiting, when the outcome is unknown and all you have are your hopes and fears, patience is hard to come by. That’s when I need to remember all those other times when I tried to project myself into the future instead of remembering the past and trusting that whatever might happen will lead to a good ending.

I wanted to write about this because I am struck by the frequency with which the subject comes up, in the bible of course, but also in other religious and spiritual works. I am not alone, it seems. We humans appear to share our dislike for waiting, our pitiful little egos seem to think that the Universe was designed to accommodate us, even though we have a good deal of evidence to the contrary. Some time ago I wrote a post about abiding. It is an old-fashioned word that you don’t hear very often. It means to endure, to bear and also to observe and follow. I like this word, it seems to me an affirming way to describe waiting. I will abide.

I am abiding even as I write this post; waiting on the Universe to present the next chapter. I might have said waiting on God, he is often singled out as the agent that requires patience. Seldom, however, do I hear people saying that God is waiting on them—though I know a hymn or two that says God abides with us. It’s arresting idea to think that God, who is master of the Universe might wait on us. But I think that actually is the case. We think we are waiting on him, but only he knows when we are ready.

The next time I find myself feeling impatient, I am going to try a little experiment. I am going to think about whether I am ready for whatever long awaited outcome is causing my impatience. My guess is that I will find there is some work to do yet; some unfinished business I need to tend to. I’ll let you know how it turns out, just wait.

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