“To lose patience is to lose the battle“, thus said Mahatma Gandhi, the chief leader of the Indian independence movement during the time of British-ruled India.
Well, you may not be battling any empire or anyone, but you may be battling your own impatience and growing restlessness inside. Impatience can make you irritable and your blood pressure surge, defeating your composure. Impatience can even make you lose your temper and go wild. It can also make you sulk in a corner and throw in the towel.
Have you failed in your endeavors before and are now losing it – I mean, your patience? Or are you just starting out fresh and want fast results? Or are you in the middle of some difficult work and feel like it is not going anywhere? Relax, my friend, for that is not the way it works in this existence of ours.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience“, Ralph Waldo Emerson concluded. Emerson was a prominent American essayist and poet who lived in the 1800’s. He was a nature observer and learned many things from it. He must have mused on its “pace”- like how the sun rises up in the morning, then comes noontime, afternoon, dusk, night, midnight, dawn, then morning again; or how there are different seasons in a year: like there must be summer, then fall, winter, and spring; or how animals, like humans, start out as babies before becoming full-grown. He must have noted how there must be a pace or a succession of measured movements or stages at certain periods of time, on living things or not.
“There is no royal road to anything, one thing at a time, all things in succession. That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly, endures“, explained Josiah Gilbert Holland, an American novelist and poet who also lived in the 1800’s.
Things do not come instantly or in a matter of days. Let us go to the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes:
If you want to reap your own apples, you need to start at the beginning, which is planting first the seeds. Next, you have to water daily the seeds and remove weeds that grow around them. You may need to apply ground fertilizer, if necessary. In short, you have to cultivate them. It takes time before it produce a stem, then blossom. It will some more time before it bears its first fruits, then more time before they ripen.
If your time-earned apple tress get withered or choked by the thick growth of weeds due to your negligence, what are you going to do? You have to do something about it, right? You have to clean their area and start watering them again; or if it’s too late, plant another set of seeds. That’s how patience works. If a storm destroyed them, you just have to do all over again. The next time around should be better because you learned a thing or two from the past, and you would be able think of other ways so that those regrettable things don’t happen again. Whining and ruing is okay, just don’t let it go beyond a couple of days, for it is not going to help at all.
A failure could be a way for redirection:
“. . . a time to break down, and a time to build up“. (Ec. 3.3)
“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time“, declared Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy. Let us look at the Bible again:
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect, and entire, wanting nothing”. (Ja. 1.4)
Patience can’t be obtained overnight. It must be exercised or practiced like you would build up muscles in a workout gym, but can eventually be perfected.
Diligence or persistence is a product of patience. A person persists or perseveres because he has patience, otherwise he or she would have quit already.
Let us listen to what Jacob Riis, a Danish journalist (1849-1914), had to say concerning patience:
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.
Yet, at a hundredth and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before”.
See? Patience connotes not only effort, but also time. The following is a related input from Albert Einstein:
“I think and think for months and years, ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time, I am right”.
Whatever have happened in the past, or is happening now, or will happen next, don’t stop or quit. Just take a break and refocus. You will get there to whatever you are trying to achieve. If you are not trying to achieve anything, at least just go on with life. After all,
“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof . . .” (Ec. 7.8)
Let patience prevail and perfect its form, and beat that enemy within.
Finally, a word from Benjamin Franklin, an American inventor, statesman, and one of the founding fathers of the United States:
“He that can have patience can have whatever he will“.