A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel Proverbs 15:18
Patience is a hard thing to come by in a world that allows us to have everything at the tip of our fingers. Information in our pocket on a device that can access things our brains are too impatient to wait on. Ever notice when you are in a discussion with your friends and someone asks “What was the name of that guy from that movie?” and everyone reaches for their phones to Google it. Google is a verb for crying-out-loud. Another thing I find disturbing is the inability of my pulse to stay low when my Internet is taking four seconds faster to load than it should, how did I survive when it was loading at snails-pace? Or when I didn't even have Internet?
These past few day have taught me the necessity of waiting on what God wants me to do. Take the book I am currently finishing off. Having done the edit with my dear friend Clif and found a publisher, a great one at that, I moved on to the current process. The copy-edit. It involves fine-tuning every word and sentence, literally taking the entire building blocks of my book, disassembling it, then rebuilding all over again. The title too was dissected and hashed over, entered into search engines for matching titles and all that jazz. Searching Engine Optimisation they call it! After two weeks we decided on a title and all seemed fine, until my copy-editor wanted to change it, again. I stood firm and said no because I was following my heart. The other changes to the manuscript prove difficult too but I have to take a step back and be patient, hand my baby over to someone who ultimately wants the same thing as me, to see it reach the hearts and minds of those in darkness. Letting go and trusting in the process has been frustrating at times but being patient has brought me to a place where I am better able to understand the direction of my book, and make good decisions that are not based on emotion but on listening.
Two more examples of being patient and trusting happened to me just this weekend. As I write aboard a TGV that is sweeping its way through the French countryside allow me to recount these happenings. On Friday morning I took off before sunrise for a trail run through the Black Forest, I was there for a few days to see my wonderful lady, Val, and tack on some glorious trails too. Off I went, no head torch or water, going minimal as much as I can. I know the area a little from a previous trip so I felt confident, no, cocky actually, going into this run. I cruised with ease through the altitude and darkness, every footfall measured and purposeful. As the sun broke I was charging on all cylinders, hammering down single-track. Then my confidence in direction took me to an unfamiliar clearing, I didn't fret. I am a trail runner, The Man. Then I saw a sign for the village and it was pointing in the opposite direction of where I thought I was supposed to go. A mild irritation set in, I am in control here, I dictate the way I go. I had a decision to make, I either plough on the way I think or follow the not-so-clear signs. I followed the sign for a bit until I veered off and ended up right back at the same sign. No joke. Round in circle. By this point I had to assess my situation. I had been out for over an hour and a half, a grey sky and strong winds were moving in and I was thirsty and hungry. I took a pause and spoke to God and basically said “OK, I get it, I am not in charge and I messed up” I vow to listen and be diligent. With some humility I took off down a trail I was drawn to and surely enough an intersecting track joined the town river and I suddenly found myself on a ridge above the town. I red-lined it the last few km and reached the house with an empty tank. Running relentlessly got me lost, patience found the way.
Final example was last night. I boarded a train in eastern France for an 18:55 departure as my lovely Val waved goodbye through the window, problem was the train wasn't moving. She waited on regardless. Then an announcement came that it would not be going all the way. It would go at a reduced speed to another city, Dijon, and would reach there at 01:00 in the morning before transferring us to another train. Translation: a long and unsettled night for not just me but many others too. It was now eight o clock in the evening and I had already waved Val off to tell her there was no point in waiting. I became impatient, angry. A great weekend would be ruined by the incompetence of the rail company, I tried to call my Val to tell her but no answer. As I rose from my seat I turned to see her getting on the train! My heart just soared and I couldn't understand what she was doing here! She had patiently waited even after I told her to go home and rest. I then had to deal with the company and change my ticket for the next day. I felt myself not in the coolest of emotional states and wanted to vent at someone for the inconvenience to both of us. As the queue slowly moved I found out I might have to pay an additional fee for the ticket the next morning, after they had messed up. This got me royally flushed. But Val calmly said “Lets see what they have to say first”. The woman at the desk seemed tired and was dealing with a lot of complaints, she processed my ticket and although I should have had to pay and extra 80-100 bucks she looked me in the eye and muttered “I am doing to do something very unorthodox here” and with that wiped the extra fees and smiled as she handed me my ticket for the next day. I got an extra night and was more blessed than most who had no other option than to ride the slow train through the night.
Patience, whether it's your own or that of someone else, has the potential to change someones life. Val lifted my spirits in the queue with her patience, the lady at customer services renewed my faith and generosity in the human spirit. My own patience with the book and running through dense forest shows me that I am not in control of anything, I have to wait on things to unfold from time to time. I might not always agree with it but hey, whats the rush?