Patience Makes Perfect

christmas-cactus“Tis the season!”  That’s been my response to people who wear “impatience” on their face this holiday season.  You’ve all seen it and I think all of us would freely admit that we’ve felt more than a little impatient already this season.  We have multiple opportunities to practice patience as we maneuver the obstacles in grocery store aisles, stand in the department store lines and practically risk our lives to find a parking spot.

I’ve got more than the holiday season to be impatient about right now.  If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know that I’ve been trying to train to run a marathon for over a year now.  I’m frustrated and impatient about that, too.  It seems that as soon as I start to recover from one injury or issue with my body, a new one emerges.  I’ve had physical therapy for just about every body part from the waist down now over the last year and a half.  I’m beginning to wonder if I should ask for my name to be inscribed on one of the bricks in the wall at the physical therapy office.  Certainly, my Therapist must be tired of seeing me walk in that door, too, in spite of my financial contribution to his lively hood!

PHX HalfJust this past weekend, I was finally able to run six miles for the first time in a couple months because I’ve been recovering from a knee injury.  This morning I went out to run and within the first five minutes I had hip pain that felt similar to pain I experienced last spring.  That was a stress fracture that put me out of commission for a couple months.  I didn’t want to risk another couple months off, so I decided to give myself today off from running.  My coach schedules my workouts each day and he is trying to do all he can to keep me injury free.  I’m afraid to tell him about yet another pain.  Certainly, my Coach must be getting tired of all of this!  Could he be secretly wishing I would just give up???

I texted my husband and told him why I had to skip the run this morning.  No response…  I just picture him shaking his head and imagine him thinking, “Not again”!  If he isn’t getting tired of the injuries, he certainly had got to be getting tired of all the co-pays!  I know I am!

Maybe even you, my readers are getting impatient with me, thinking the same things that the rest might be…

Maybe you can’t relate to my reasons for feeling impatient, but you know what I’m talking about.  We get impatient over many things, most often; they’re situations beyond our control.  Things as trivial as another’s bad driving habits or waiting in rush hour traffic might make your blood boil.  Waiting on hold for customer service or to speak to a real person about your need can be terribly frustrating.  Worse yet, situations involving waiting for others to change or to act on something that will have an impact on your life, seem to drag on forever!  Have you noticed a pattern here?  These are all situations that we have no control over, but they require us to practice patience.

Frankly, I hate the fact that I have to practice patience!  How many times have our parents said the phrase to us, “practice makes perfect”.   I’ve had to be patient all my life and that represents years’ worth of practice!  Really now, how long should “perfect” take!  And besides, why should I have to be patient because something else or someone else is not doing whatever it is that they are supposed to be doing?  Why should I have to be affected by another’s action or inactions?  It just doesn’t seem fair!

The reality is that all my ranting, raving and rebelling will do nothing to change the fact that I will have many more opportunities ahead where my patience will be required.  My stress, frustration and anger will only be heightened by allowing my emotions to be involved in these situations that are beyond my control.  The fact is, the best way I know how to face these things is to roll through and keep smiling as I do it.   It’s not easy, that’s why it’s something we have to practice over and over and over…  It’s like a snowball that frostystarts out small.  As it rolls along, it gets bigger and bigger.  The more you practice patience, the bigger it gets.  Before you know it, you’ve made yourself a friend from your snow and you’ve named it Frosty.  Of course, me living in Arizona, we don’t have snow in our forecast, so the best I can do is make dust bunnies.  We have plenty of dust here!

No, you won’t ever reach perfect by practicing patience in this life, but you will arrive at the end of your run, a lot less stressed and you will be the bigger, better person because of it.  This life is much like a marathon.  It’s not easy and involves much training, many setbacks, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.  It requires patient endurance, persistence and a “never give up” attitude to make it through.  I may not be running on the road today, which makes me sad, but the ultimate goal is to complete the marathon.  The only way I can do that is by being patient.  I need to let my body heal.  I have to trust that patience makes perfect and that I will be when I cross that big finish line!

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