I have just returned from a trip down to my parents’ house. It’s a 5-hour journey and, with 3 small children, there are many “when are we going to get theres” along the way.
Yet, how different is our children’s impatience from our own? We are all on this journey we call life. There are many goals we strive for, or journey towards, along the way. How impatient do we get when we want something RIGHT NOW? I know I get impatient. Patience is not one of my strong points. I work at it each and every day. My kids give me endless opportunities to practice patience at greater and greater depths. Oh yeah, and then there is the small matter of me having written and published a book, started up a business as a motivational speaker and am spending a great many hours these days marketing and promoting said book and business. Why am I not speaking at moms groups 7 days a week yet? Am I just a little impatient? You could say so.
We come up with brilliant ideas. We find our passion. We work towards our goals and yet forget that it’s all a learning process. Every day of my life is an opportunity to learn, to grow and to become more than I ever thought possible as a human being. Do I have goals? Yes, absolutely. Am I working towards them? Yes, every day. So why am I still so impatient?
Like the car journey to my parents house 5 hours away, I am moving in a forward direction towards my goals. And so, I can say to myself the same thing I said to my kids in the car: “We will get there when we get there.”
Patience is accepting that we WILL get to where we are going because we know we are moving forward toward that place. It does not mean I will get there today or even tomorrow, but, as long as I continue to make steps that keep me moving in a forward direction, then I will get there.
I expected the “we’ll get there when we get there” approach to work with my kids. I expected them to accept it because they had no other choice. They could not see in their mind’s eye the road that lay ahead and gauge the distance according to the mileage signs or the last city we drove through. They could not see the big picture of the journey in the same way I could, so I had to give them an answer that perhaps was not very satisfying, but it had to do.
What is different about me and my life path? Can I see the road that lay ahead or am I as ignorant as my children when it comes to how long it will take for me to “get there?” And will “there” look anything like I expected it to from this vantage point?
I am like the child who’s understanding of the world is limited and who’s view of the wider world is very narrow indeed. What can I know of my future? What can I know of the people I will meet along the way and the doors that will open as I progress down this particular road of life?
I will get there when I get there. The question I can definitively answer each and every day is: “Am I making forward movement in my life in the direction I want to go?” As long as I can consistently answer yes to that question, what have I to fear? Nothing. I don’t have to have all the answers now. I don’t have to know the exact details and timeline of the journey. It’s impossible for me to ever completely have the complete picture of my life. All I have is the narrow view of what I see and experience right in front of me. There are, however, an infinite number of things happening all around me about which I have no idea, but that could potentially change the entire course of my life forever. I simply do not know. I only know that there is so much I cannot possibly know.
Instead of obsessing about the end goad, I could enjoy the journey a bit more. I could look out the metaphorical windows and notice the scenery. I could rest assured and trust in the journey, as I feel the wheels of forward movement rotate beneath me.
My children trusted that we would arrive at grandma and grandpa’s. They were impatient to get there, but they knew that we would.
And so, my prayer today, is that I can learn something from them about my own journey. I can learn to trust that I will get wherever it is my desires are taking me. I can also learn to change the question from, “When am I going to get there?” to “Am I still moving forward?” Attempting to answer the first will only bring frustration. Answering the latter offers clarity and peace.
I choose peace.