What to do when life needs patience

It’s been a bumpy few weeks..hurts, physical and emotional, piling on, and patience for the needs of my life in short supply.

I tripped and fell recently and broke a bone in my left foot. I expect I’ll recover, but for now the process of waiting for healing is slow and frustrating.

I’m taking on a big new challenge at work, and I anticipate this will consume a lot of my time for the next 18 months. This is the biggest professional project I’ll face in my current role, and it’s not without risk. The process will require a lot of cooperation and teamwork, from some people who don’t always play nicely together.

I don’t do drama well, and the potential for drama is high. And that makes me uncomfortable, and anxious. And yet I feel it’s important to stay calm. It stretches me to maintain composure when I feel the tension of personality conflicts and management styles; when I see the potential for failure as clearly as the possibility of success. I don’t care so much about the credit for success. It will be a team effort if we succeed.

But if the project fails, I’m pretty sure I know who’ll bear the blame.

I’m feeling stressed by some situations just beyond my reach, but not beyond my heart.

I had a difficult conversation recently that wounded me a bit. But there’s really nothing to do about it, except to allow time and grace to work some healing. It wasn’t a situation I sought, or controlled…you know…one of those tricky exchanges that comes out of nowhere, and erupts with emotion while you’re still trying to sort out what’s happening.

Afterward, I felt a little fragile, in need of comfort food and soothing noises.

Some days…some weeks…are just harder than others.

I don’t have real answers to anything that’s troubling me just now. But I know what to do while the stories unfold.

I remind myself: I’m only able to control my thoughts, my responses. I can’t control what others do or say.

But I can choose how I want to be. It begins with intention, with commitment to my way of being.

No drama. Patience. Perspective.

And I look for ways to self-soothe. That means I look for the good, always.

Sometimes the good of a situation, or a person, can be hard to spot. 

But it’s the only way I know to find hope, to wait through times of frustration and doubt. And while I stay busy with my work, resolution will come.

If it sounds passive, it’s anything but. My instincts are to rush in to the trouble spots, to try to repair and suggest solutions. To reassure myself, and others, “It’s ok…it will be ok.”

There are times to do that, and times to stand back.

The solutions aren’t for me to offer. They can only come from the people in the heart of the situations.

It’s hard to be a by-stander, and yet have skin in the game.

But I finally learned the life lesson: you don’t gain by pushing to answers that aren’t birthed yet. Answers come in good time, and from the right sources. And so I wait, and resist the urge to problem-solve.

What do you do when life hurts?

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.                      ~ Helen Keller




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