A Sweet Lesson on Patience

The aptitude to put our own personal desires, needs and dreams aside on hold for a certain amount of time is a precious yet a rare virtue possessed by human: patience. But alas! The impatience of the mere human, we want what we want and we want it now! Therefore, giving the entire concept of patience an unpleasant and, at times, bitter connotation.However the simple act of waiting often proves to be difficult and unwelcoming. Adults are very much attuned to it and children know it too.The world in which we reside today has two-speed limits; fast or accelerated. In an instant it offers us fast food, movies, instant messaging,and answers to the most trivial or profound questions we may have. Humans are notoriously known for their not liking to wait. Very often we can observe people’s blood pressure rise while waiting in line at the supermarket, or when a driver moves slower than required.Nevertheless, without patience, we cannot claim our path, we cannot attain our destinations or achieve our goals. I have found that patience is often a purifying process which aids and refines our understanding, deepens our levels of happiness, focuses our actions, and offers hope for peace.But patience is much more than merely waiting. From my journey through life so far I have gained much experience particularly from my golden oldie friends. I’ve learnt that patience is much more than simply waiting for something to occur, patience was more like a practice run which requires us to actively work towards worthwhile goals without being discouraged with the possible when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort.There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, neither is it failing to act because of our fears.

Patience (Photo credit: AngSocialMed)

Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something or someone,working together or in solitude, hoping, and exercising faith even when our end goal appears out of reach or unachievable. Patience means staying with something until its reached its most natural end. It means delaying our need for immediate gratification. It means having to rein in our anger and holding back the unnecessary unkind words. Above all it means remaining optimistic, positive, realistic and determined. Patience means accepting the circumstances as they are, particularly when they cannot be influenced and facing it with courage, grace, and faith; ultimately, patience means being firm and steadfast.

Often the most difficult times of our lives are the most essential building blocks that form the foundation of our character and pave the way to future opportunity, understanding, and happiness. It is at these, most crucial points of our lives that we need and must exercise patience because quite frankly our lives depend on it. Never give up on anyone and that includes not giving up on yourself. The lessons we learn from patience will cultivate our character, lift our lives, and heighten our happiness.

Impatience, on the other hand, can often be deemed a product of selfishness. It is a trait of the self-absorbed which leads individuals believing their needs, goals, ambitions are superior to that of others. All surrounding individuals are merely the supporting cast in the grand theater of mortality in which only they have the starring role! Ha!

The Passage of Time

How many of us really have the patience to sit down and have a decent conversation with our frail parents? Which one of us takes the time out to talk to a lonesome person in need of company? We live in a fast paced society with all those around us moving at high acceleration leaving behind the frail, the elderly, the terminally ill, the lonesome, the lost and broken individual. There are so many people around us; the elderly couple whose children have flown the nest, the young man whose recovering from drug addiction, the middle-aged woman, a divorced mother of two young children, the homeless man in the city we walk past everyday outside the tube station, the young woman recovering from mental illness and to all those residential care homes. Do we have the patience to even notice them? Or have we all become too self indulgent to even care?

Here is a short, sweet lesson on patience. A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Young man, Would you please be kind enough to carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘My dear boy, Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’ I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Best Wishes,
Maahi PM


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