An Ode to no Patience and the One Answer to Everything
Can I start by saying I have the curse of zero patience? I’d like to say I was born with it, but I’m afraid that would be an excuse. I know it’s been part of me since I was a child (ask my mom, or don’t). So, on the rare occasions when I wrangle what little bit of patience I can find, I am almost always rewarded.
Recently this has taken the form of some slow lessons. Slow lessons that are nowhere near their ultimate payoff yet, mind you, but that are starting to reveal some welcome truth.
Too often (and by too often I mean almost always) I expect my time spent to have an equal and proportionate result. Maybe it’s the project based world I’ve been working in for the last decade and a half, but maybe it’s just my impatience.
The big problem with that is that time spent does not = productivity. Productivity in = productivity out is an equation that kind of makes sense. But time spent, which is the currency most of us trade in rather than productivity, is full of slow lessons. I have been in a season of new as I shift from one kind of working life to another and my expectations for how to make this work have shifted more than once.
Recently I was looking over all my lists and plans from the first week I set out to bring Serendipity Workshop to a larger audience beyond friends and family. It’s cute, it really is that I thought it would take a month to get it all going. It’s cute that I thought I wouldn’t need an actual break from doing anything that resembled work for a while. It’s even cuter that I thought it would be all happiness and joy, when the truth is I have been forced to learn some very hard lessons, face some very painful parts of my past and who I am for my own good. What I thought was a little career change (whether temporary or permanent) has turned into a milestone season of healing, grace and so much more learning than just new craft or job skills.
I’m learning and relearning how to prioritize everything. I’m learning how to set new kinds of goals for myself instead of a corporate client, three times removed. I’m learning how to define what work actually is and to be comfortable with the obscurity of work and life for the small creative entrepreneur. I’m learning that the goals and plans and schedules and itineraries I made in week one of this little journey were stepping stones to get to what I’m really going to be doing months later. I’m learning that planning something that doesn’t happen, is not to be counted as a loss. Groundwork, foundation, lifeline, breadcrumbs maybe, but loss definitely not.
That is the first slow lesson. These things I thought would yield quick results have provided more of a slow drip of inspiration over time. They have served as a reference as that help unstick me when I need guidance weeks or months later. This is so valuable now.
The second deeper and more lifelong slow lesson is that all the heart work: the books read, the prayers, the meditation, journals written across the last few months, years and some even older – are finding me today with renewed purpose and meaning. Somehow, it’s all adding up to something. I wish I could draw you a picture of it. Take a perfect photo #nofilter. But I can’t. I just see the evidence of things happening in my responses to daily life and in the things that I’m given to respond to. That’s how it works right?
My stories have never had a clear beginning middle and end. My lessons learned don’t even usually result in noticeable changes at all when left to my own fun. Most of the time I require supernatural convincing to alter my course. I am that stubborn. When I do learn, it’s usually accompanied by some grandiose proclamation (I’ll be a vegan…forever! I’m not, but I try sometimes). I’ll usually return to the scene of my crimes at least ten or twenty (thousand) times in the process. I find that stumbling along this knotty path serves a glorious purpose, though – it forces me to see that I am drenched in grace.
This is the truth: Grace is pretty much always the answer at the end of the slow lesson. Grace to accept that on our best day we could never be enough to get the job done without God’s love and consistent intervening on our behalf. And because of this, grace we should have given ourselves to be human and broken and futile or fabulous depending on the day. If God can handle our tomfoolery, we should give ourselves the same measure of grace and get on with it.
What kind of slow lessons are you learning?