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  • Writer's pictureDoug Weiss


I confess that I have had a sense of urgency most of my life, even during times when I felt most at peace. Patience has not come easily or visited me for long, which is perhaps why its lessons are ones I keep having to learn anew. There have been stretches, long ones indeed where it was clear to me that my ability to influence the outcome of certain situations was so far out of my reach that I had no recourse but to accept whatever came with what equanimity I could muster.

I do not think I am alone in these feelings—though many I am sure have mastered patience sooner and with far more grace than I. Looking back at the most egregious examples of my impatience I can see that underlying every one was not just a sense of urgency but also an entirely misplaced faith that some action on my part could and would have a positive effect. All too often I experienced a prompt and humbling reminder of my limitations.

On those occasions when I was able to corral my urges—and abide, life unfolded in unexpected ways and often far better than I might have managed had my willful desire to hasten things prevailed. You might think that lesson alone would be sufficient to teach me what I needed to learn but not always. On a positive note, however, the tempering effect of repeated experience and age have worn off some of the sharper edges and I can manage much of the time to let matters take their course without fretfulness.

In recompense for my moderated behavior I have been rewarded with a precious gift, I have learned to savor. Typically, savor is a word associated with joy taken in good food. There is a suggestion of time implied; time in which to relish and enjoy its taste. In a sense that is the sensation I want to describe—savoring the moment, living in the moment and allowing it to linger however long it will. Impatience deprives us of this taste of life. Instead, we spend the moment and those that follow recklessly thinking that we have an endless bounty of both, time and life. Of course, nothing is further from the truth.

When I think of particular moments of joy, peace, and contentment I greedily wish for more. Perhaps had I savored them at the time I might feel otherwise. We are advised to stop and smell the flowers, to watch with fresh eyes a sun rise or set. These injunctions are easy to forget in the act of living our lives. When I stray too far it seems I am presented with the necessity of slowing down and discover again that there is a richness in the details, in the minutes ticking by that I have missed in my haste.

Over the past year of enforced seclusion with all of the restrictions we have shared I have also found the time to read and write more, to stay in touch with friends, to learn, experiment and renew my lifelong lesson in patience. None of us wished for this interval or the stresses it has placed on our world but it has offered us a gift of time and the opportunity to savor moments—small bites of life and the grace of reflection.

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