Yesterday I was mad at the universe. It seems unfair to bless me with all this faith, and then not give me the patience to let it come to fruition. But right now the water bill needs paid, the van needs new tires, and summer child care expenses are right around the corner. At my deepest level, I know things will be OK. We will not go hungry. We will always have a roof over our heads, and we are surrounded by friends and family who will support us no matter what. But here I am again, not sleeping and worrying my way distractedly through the day. It feels like when they tell you not to struggle if you get caught out at sea. “Don’t waste your energy fighting the waves. Save your energy to swim to shore when the waves have settled.” When the going gets tough and the future is uncertain, my first instinct is to DO something, but sometimes the right answer is to do nothing. To just be still. And today, when I was finally quiet enough to listen, the universe taught me that I don’t have a financial problem, I have a behavior problem. I have a patience problem.
Faith and Patience. Is it possible to have one without the other? And if we really need them both, is it possible to fake it until you make it? Today I am pretending to be a calm and patient person. Instead of searching the Want Ads and frantically re-balancing the checkbook, I will do yoga. Instead of sorting through the stack of bills, I will put away the gallon of ice cream and make a fruit smoothie. Instead of holding my breath and opening the mail, I will go for a walk and clear my head.
More often than not, we are each the greatest obstacle to our own success. An optimistic, action-oriented person who thinks they have to fix everything is no more balanced than a calm and patient pessimist. But I think that our greatest fulfillment will come when we open ourselves to that which doesn’t come naturally. For me, that means stepping back and being still. For someone else, it might mean going forward in confidence, as if you already believe that everything will be OK. History, science and faith all teach us that if we do these things, the answers will come. And the universe is patiently waiting to teach us whatever it is that we don’t yet know we need to know.