(Or I could write a thesis on impatience)
Impatience is a topic I could have written a thesis about. If only I’d been patient enough to stick at it!
In suffering infertility, I WAITED a very long time (or what felt like an ETERNITY) to fall pregnant. I WAITED in doctor’s surgeries, the scent of ‘horrormones’ hanging in the air, thick and sticky with fear and tension.
Right now I’m impatient for my ‘blog thing’ to take off, or something like that, for a few more people to read what I write, to comment, to share with friends, to maybe like what I’m saying (feedback much appreciated!).
Anyway, I know I’m not following my own supposed notion of ‘going with the flow’. I know I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months and I’m being silly, trivial. Especially compared with infertility.
Sometimes WAITING really does feel like forever, and the changes you’ve been working towards or those that will inevitably come, feel like they’ll never eventuate. So you grow impatient.
Yinyang teaches us to expect and accept change, to ‘go with the flow’ (aligning our energies with the universe, biding our time and then acting when circumstances are right) while striving for balance between fast and slow, upwards and inwards etc.
In fact Lao Tsu, the absolute authority on all things yinyang, wisely says:
By letting go all things get done.
I think I’d like to explore that idea further!
I’ve had a lot of practice at WAITING, yet I still haven’t learned patience.
In suffering infertility, I wondered whether the two weeks at the end of a treatment cycle could actually be longer than fourteen days; whether fourteen fraught days stretched beyond 336 hours, and if there were in fact so many more than twenty thousand torturous minutes in those two weeks.
We WAITED and stressed through four preliminary treatments, but I actually feel pregnant on our first full IVF cycle, after WAITING out much of the last few days in the bathroom (my record for anxious visits to the toilet was twenty-two in one day, as I dreaded failure and prayed for a miracle). I got a short-lived miracle, but found myself WAITING again, in dull and desperate disbelief, for a doctor to confirm there was no baby in my uterus. Then time froze in shock and sorrow solidified.
I (or rather my husband and I) WAITED and despaired through eight more IVF cycles that stretched over four more years. We WAITED out the adoption process, which reduces you to a sad statistic in a long drawn-out queue, until finally it was our daughter’s turn to get stuck with us as parents. And we were so grateful for the privilege of parenting her that all of the WAITING and all the despair were forgotten (well almost) in the moment she was placed in my arms.
I’ve had plenty of practice since in the art (or torture) of WAITING. I’ve wrung my heart and my hands out and choked on tears WAITING for news after my father’s grim cancer diagnosis (thankfully he’s doing OK). We WAITED, endlessly it seemed, to welcome Little Yang into our lives and there have been many things, large and small, that have tried my patience and tested my spirit.
SO WHY AM I STILL IMPATIENT?
It could be a character flaw, or the cumulative effect of so much WAITING, with so little control, that has me craving to set my own agenda and my own timetable.
Yet I have come to understand that things happen, when the time is ‘right’, and regardless of how impatient we are for them. Impatience, like worry (which I’m so expert at I may as well have a PhD), is just a waste of time.
The very virtue of patience, of going with the flow, harnessing universal energy, may actually make things happen more quickly (or at least make us feel like the WAIT wasn’t so long). We can’t control time but we can control our perspective on its passing.
If we hadn’t WAITED so long, we wouldn’t have the children we know and love.
This amazing fact is far more than consolation for long, lost years – it is the very wonderful gift of our WAITING.
Going with the flow doesn’t have to mean surrendering to it (although sometimes this is really the only way when there is nothing you can do in the moment).
We can still act to make things happen, without getting hung up on the schedule. We can bring patience to the meantime (the NOW of course, the ONLY TIME we have) and stop wasting our energies on futile impatience.
And that’s my (very short) thesis!
I’d love to hear how you overcome impatience? What steps do you take to ground yourself in the NOW? What things in your life remind you that WAITING is worth it?
Take the time (he, he) to comment below.