The definition of patience....
the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
How many of us can truly state we have patience? That peaceful state of simply accepting what we cannot control and allowing nature to take her course?
The older I get the more I know patience is something we learn over time. It is not a habit we are born with. A baby will cry for attention and food, a toddler will squirm impatiently to get out of the car and go play, a teen wants instant gratification. Young adults new to adulthood want it all and immediately, the car, the status, the house... parents get impatient when their little ones take time to get ready, you and I get impatient while we wait for the elderly to finish in front of us at the till.... Impatience is the way of the world.
It is a habit you have to force yourself to learn or you will be constantly irritated with everything.
I know. I'm impatient by nature. Always have been. It comes from wanting to get things done now... tomorrow never comes (as my paternal Gran always used to say). But it hasn't helped me solve my problems and I'm now finally learning to sit back and allow life to take her course and for me to simply wind along with it. It certainly does not mean that I am not in control of my destiny. For me it means I'm allowing my destiny to flow its natural course, rather than forcing things.
And I'm learning to relax.
Saturday we travelled through Lesotho for a couple of hours. There is ONE road... and they working on it... At one point we passed a spot and it appeared they were laying explosives but we didn't pay much attention. We meandered along and turned around a bit later to make our way back... only to be stopped as they were getting ready to detonate.... I heard one of the workers mention it could be up to 3 hours until we could move past. My heart probably did stop at this point. We were a good 45 minutes to the first border post (given the state of the roads) and another 30-45 minutes to get down Sani Pass to the next border post before it closed... and it was now already 2.30pm... and the borders closed at 6pm.
I really only had 2 choices... freak out or settle back and enjoy the show. I decided on the latter as unless I was prepared to be blasted to smithereens I had very little choice. So I got my shots, James and I settled where we had a view of the activities going on below, had our picnic and I caught an afternoon nap. There were 2 other vehicles with us and the occupants hounded the poor construction guys every 10 minutes demanding to know when the road would be opened... I however managed to draw on some lessons learnt on inner calm and remained relaxed ... and we made it down the Pass with 40 minutes to spare.
This morning was another lesson in patience for me. I have not been a keen nature photographer ... something to do with tons of patience being needed... this morning though I sat and watched the birds in the mist for a good hour. I figured if I gave them some time I would get something of value and I was right. The scene below probably played out over 5 minutes of that hour but it is a unique shot and will bring me a lot of joy for a long time in the future. My 'Beak Off' birds showed me that with animals you do just have to wait... and good things will come to you.
So I resolve that from now on I will try and practice patience on a daily basis so that it becomes more habit for me. Be more tolerant with my errant teens who constantly know how to irritate, the learner driver in front of me, the client who needs extra explaining. Spend some time meandering, rather than rushing. It can only do me good.
After all patience is a virtue.