Patience! Wherefore Art Thou, Patience?

Oh, patience! Anyone else have trouble being patient? I am thisclose to getting a printed proof copy of my book in my hands – the physical culmination of ten months of work – and I'm stuck. A "very odd" error in a file I'm trying to upload has customer service stumped. I've been "escalated” to the "tier two" team, which cannot be a good thing. I spent hours at the computer yesterday going through all of the many steps, giddily anticipating the thrill of placing the print order and knowing that my book is finally on its way to me. To be foiled at the second-to-last moment – after weeks of waiting for my final files (again, trying to be patient) – oh! The agony. I know, I know, first world problems.

But it brings up an issue for me that I face time and again: having to be patient. This has never been easy for me, so a while ago I started praying for more patience. I want to be like Marmee in Little Women: unflappable and constantly calm, even in the face of terrible difficulty. So far, not even close.

Recently a friend mentioned that she is always careful what she prays for; that in her experience, when she prays for patience, what she gets is more situations in which she needs to be patient. Aha! So I stopped praying for that, but apparently the half-life on those prayers is quite long.

I know it's a lesson that I will face again and again until I learn it, but it’s so difficult. I guess the best lessons always are. I suspect I'm also being taught that my usual "butt my head against the obstacle until it gives or I fall down" approach is not the best. Certainly there are times when persistence and hard work are needed, but I tend to view any setback or delay as something to be attacked with increased vigor, rather than accepted.

It's all tied in to my productivity complex, which I've talked about here before. I simply don't feel right if I'm not being productive when there is something left to do. But – here's the problem – there's always something to do! The list is neverending. I can't possibly get it all done, even if I work around the clock. And we all know what happens to us with all work and no play. But I have such a difficult time playing or simply resting during the weekday. On the weekend, sure (after all the household chores are done, lol!). But Monday through Friday? It's a very tough sell to my inner taskmaster.

I have had the experience, though, of taking a break from something (usually when I had no choice) and reading or going for a walk, then coming back to a resolved situation or the answer I'm waiting for. So I know that sometimes, that can work. I also know how much better I feel when I alternate periods of concentrated effort with periods of R&R. And truly, if I'm in a situation that requires waiting on someone else, doing something fun helps the time pass much more quickly than moving on to another joyless task so that "at least I'm still doing something.”

Today I am walking away from my computer with the knowledge that I've done all I can on this project, and it's time to wait for the cavalry to arrive. I will go get a massage, and if there's no news after I get home, I will do something fun with no guilt. I will not stew, or complain (anymore than I already have today!). I will channel Marmee and be a virtual beacon of patience shining for the whole world to see. Well, I will try, anyway.

If you're facing any sort of similar challenge, I wish you piles of patience and a speedy resolution!