My patience went out the window a long time ago, and I’m still waiting for its unlikely return. I think my whole family might be waiting. It gets especially difficult this time of year, of course. I want to be outside like everyone else on this gorgeous Island, and I have exactly three minutes to spare most days. Complaining doesn’t really help, just like it doesn’t improve the outcome of most other tough situations. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing to gripe when you think about all the blessings we have just by living here. Still, I’m likely to complain anyway.
I think the most recent example is a real gem. Despite the fact that my husband carries my laundry basket downstairs for me, puts my clothes in the washer, and then brings everything back up to me when it’s dry, I still get irritated because he doesn’t lay the linen shirts out to dry the way that I would. Why I can’t just be grateful that my clothes are clean without my lifting a finger is beyond me. Instead, I like to grumble something under my breath like, “Well, next time I’ll do the shirts myself …” and then I never do. I’m so ungrateful that I don’t even recognize that I’ve just been the recipient of an act of kindness.
When you’re too distracted or just too busy to see your blessings, it’s probably time to have a little chat with God, or whoever your higher power is.
One of the items on my to-do list is to find more time to pray. Not just those conversations I have in the car with God while I’m sitting at Five Corners waiting for a family to cross in front of me on bicycles. I mean real time. Alone. Maybe in a quiet place, with a nice-smelling candle burning. Oh, I know I can pray anyplace, and I do. What I’m longing for is some quality time with the man upstairs, just the two of us having a heart-to-heart.
I would ask God for patience, and I would ask Him to wipe all the grime from my eyes so that I could see with fresh eyes. I would ask Him to show me how to love more and complain less. I would wait until I saw a “sign” so that I would know God heard me, that he’s got my list of requests and he’s working on them. Just a little something so that I know he’s there.
The secret might be that by sitting there for 20 minutes in prayer, I’ve already got my “sign.” That’s 20 minutes I haven’t complained, 20 minutes that weren’t spent in front of my laptop or Netflix, 20 minutes just for myself and God. Heck, just by taking the time to write all this down, I’ve felt my heart rate decrease, and my breathing isn’t coming in those big huffs I seem to employ all the time.
My friend Nancy Aronie has written a beautiful book that I hope next year everyone gets to read. In it she talks about her son Dan and his journey with MS. One of the lines that has embedded itself in my brain is this one: “Slow down, Turbo!” That’s what Dan would say to Nancy when she took off like a rocket, running around finding the right doctors, the right foods, the right gurus to help her through. I never met Dan; he died before I moved here, but I feel like I know him anyway, through his mom’s words. Sometimes I think he’s up there looking down and reminding me to slow down too.
We all only have so much time here, so I’m going to work on those 20 minutes in prayer, knowing that they are much better spent than the 20 minutes I take to mull over how to get the wrinkles out of those darn linen shirts.