Patience.

They say patience is a virtue and I suppose that’s true. Cato said that patience is the greatest of all virtues. I must be quite the unvirtuous woman for I have little patience in many things. That’s not perverse pride–I wish I were more patient.  I’ve gotten better over the years but that doesn’t mean I’ve come very far.  I’ll probably have to live to at least 150 to acquire any measurable level of patience.

I have learned to wait for a dinner table. I can tolerate a 20-minute wait for a table now. It helps, of course, to have a patient dinner partner by my side. When paired with an equally impatient dinner companion, however, a speedy exit from what may have been a fine dining experience is practically guaranteed.

“Good things come to those who wait.” Ah, but is “waiting” relative? How long does one wait? It’s situational, I suppose…to answer my own question. I must wait for some things so it behooves me to be patient to simply be able to live with  myself.  I must wait for a calendar event…say, Christmas…because nothing I can do will hasten its arrival. So it’s in my own best interest to be patient. If I want a good loaf of homemade bread, I must be patient with the process of kneading, rising, kneading, rising or risk producing a loaf of coarse, dense bread. This much I have learned.

Patience can turn one into a dullard, too, though. Standing still, waiting, inert…shudder. What do you miss, standing there waiting? What opportunities fly past you, as you stand there, stolidly waiting, your eyes on some potential future event? What’s the risk:benefit ratio? When does one know to stand still and wait or when to run out and catch it?!

Right now I’m sitting still. But my mind is wandering, as my mind is prone to do. I don’t sit well; I don’t wait well, not for long.  Patience is only a virtue for so long. It has its limits; it can become a place to hide, a refuge from decision.

“Dum loquimur, fugerit invida…Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.”

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