I can still hear my mother’s voice saying sit still stop fidgeting be patient, I also have a clear picture of a pillow with the embroidered words “All good things come to him who waits.” We used to joke about “himwho” and wonder sometimes if he was still waiting. All those good things and many more did come to me eventually along with neutral every day things, occurrences that seemed horrific at the time, and losses and difficulties that I’ve had to learn to live with.
This may sound a lot like your life, too. And you may be, as I am, grateful now for the amalgam of all the ups and downs, the thrills and heartaches, the ordinary days, and the loves and disappointments, all of which morphed into something solid and beautiful and unfathomed by that child who was told to sit still and wait.
During the process I tried to outskirt the waiting by propelling my agenda, whatever it was, forward. It seemed essential to be busy and productive, to answer my own needs and those of the ones in my care, to move life in the directions I wanted it to go, and to take a careful count of my victories and achievements along the way.
Lately, however, I’ve begun to give myself permission to simply sit. At such times I don’t track the minutes; I don’t direct my thoughts. It isn’t meditation or even contemplation. It’s not prayer or anything Zen. The breath rises and falls, the heart beats, the blood flows, the mind keeps turning. But the whole of me, body and spirit, pauses. Birdsong or far away voices pass over and through me and heighten this lovely condition as I wait for the rest of my creative life to unfold with a patience I think I am learning at last.