Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Virtue of Waiting

It has been a looooong time since I've been on this blog. So if you've been waiting for a new post, thanks for your patience. If not, thanks for your patience while you read this post. In fact, with the worst segue I could ever make, I'll let you know that's actually what I'll be talking about today: patience.
Often, I find myself repeating the classic adage, "Patience is a virtue," typically in jest to my niece when she cannot wait for cookies to cool down or a friend when we're complaining about waiting for a new album to be released. I find myself constantly throwing around this proverbial phrase without thinking about it. And today, among thinking of other things, I realized it's something I need to remind myself of more often.
You see, today was my day off from work. And for once, my day off from work coincided with a day without plans. Ah, freedom. There were so many possibilities of what I could spend my day doing. Do I sit in bed and spend the next seven hours finishing Making a Murderer on Netflix? Do I begin to pack up my room for moving? And then I saw my sweet little coloring book that I had been waiting to sit down and spend time with.
Last summer, as I spent the afternoon catching up with my friend, Rebecca, I found myself mesmerized by the whimsical pages of Johanna Basford's coloring book that she was working on while we spoke. The pages were intricate and reminded me of my own imagination as a child fueled by faeries and lost gardens. I had asked for one of her coloring books for Christmas. To my surprise, two of my favorite people gave me her books!
Between working, spending time with family, and traveling across Texas, I hadn't found time since Christmas to sit down and work on even a single page. The thing was, I wanted to really carve out a couple hours to get lost inside the pages. Today, I finally found that time. I thought to myself as I sat down outside with a cup of coffee in one hand and my colored pencils in the other, "Patience is a virtue." I also thought to myself, that this three weeks of waiting (however unconsciously) obviously indicated it was a virtue mastered. Check that box, collect $200 at "GO" and take two steps towards sainthood.
As I began the tedious job of coloring the first page, I found myself growing anxious to finish and move on. I wanted to devour the entire book, or at the least the first few pages, in a matter of hours. But at the same time, I desired to make this page a piece of art, able to stand on its own. I knew I would regret rushing through it. I kept repeating to myself, "No rush, no rush, no rush." Slowly but surely, the anxiety to finish it all today began to dissipate. In its place, I found myself enjoying the details of the page I was on. I was able to better admire the small bee I found in the upper left corner. I noticed the repetition of particular flowers throughout the piece and was able to distribute the colors on the page in a way that made each flower seem that while it did belong on the page, it was also its own unique creation. After spending nearly four hours on the page, I found myself finished with page one.
And with all of this, I realized how desperately I needed to grow in patience. How often do I desire to possess what I want immediately? How often do I find myself desperate to consume all that is before me without enjoying the small moments that come in taking life a little at a time?
Last January, I found myself in the final month of my dating fast. I remember reflecting and praying and realizing that what I had learned most from that year was that my life was to be lived on a day by day basis. No rush, no rush, no rush. I found myself in no hurry to reach February or even tomorrow. I found myself happy to be. So here I am again in January, desperate to move back to San Marcos, desperate to find a big girl job and get on with my life. Anxiety attacking me from all sides to look at my life and judge myself for not being there quite yet. And I look at the language I use. Get on with my life. Well, what am I doing right now? What am I getting on from-- non-living? How is my life not being lived currently? It is. Maybe I'm not where I'd like to be a month from now, six months from now, a year from now, but I'm where I need to be. I'm here, growing in the virtue of waiting. I'm here, coloring my life, page by page, day by day. And in that, I'm hoping that I find myself inching closer towards sainthood instead of rushing to reach the last page.

Four hours and a million colored pencils later, I find myself excited to find another moment in the future to tackle the next page.

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