“If you can wait and not be tired by waiting…”
I love how the verses of this poem build into one another with common denominators. Keeping your head and trusting yourself, for example require patience. Keeping your head, trusting in yourself and patience require a degree of Stoicism. And without going further, you should start seeing more of this Stoic common denominator.
I wrote briefly, in yesterday’s post, about the decisions I’ve made in the last twelve months and how the outcomes on the various decisions aren’t yet clear. There is always a span of time before you can look back and see if the decisions you made panned out how you wanted them to, or whether it was worth it. This is why “hindsight is always 20/20”.
Regardless of whether or not they do pan out like I want them to, seeing them through to the end requires the patience to do so. It isn’t a quick fix. Many things in life that are good require patience. But, I’ll try to spare you the clichés of the virtues of patience.
Being a parent requires patience.
You spend 18 years raising your offspring from a helpless infant to, God willing, a healthy, independent and productive member of society. You aren’t given a child with a 100% guarantee of anything. You aren’t guaranteed health or intellect; that they will reach adulthood or that some tragedy won’t befall them. You aren’t guaranteed that they will love you or that they won’t just hate the very breath in your lungs. You take it a step at a time trusting; being patient and eventually, hopefully, something close to the vision you have for their lives comes to fruition.
Undertaking a martial art like Jiu-Jitsu takes patience.
The road to black belt is a solid 9-15 year process compared to a one year or two year program like Tae Kwon Do. It isn’t a linear path. This art is far more infinite than other martial arts, and it continually grows and evolves. You have really, really bad days on the mat. It pushes you. It exposes you. The span between belts isn’t short. There are miles and miles to be travelled on the mat before you reach the next milestone towards black.
Having a job that consistently deals with the public takes patience. You see the same kinds of personalities and temperaments in people from all different walks of life. It can be rewarding… and very, very grating.
Kipling didn’t say “if you can be patient…”. He said, “if you can wait”.
I wonder why?
O’, how I am tempted to dive deeper here into the rest of the poem… but even I must wait!
What is it that “you” are waiting for when everyone is losing their head, blaming, doubting and not trusting you? Waiting for the right time to act: not too soon, not too late. Waiting for the verdict to show the decision made was correct. Waiting for the clouds to break, showing the course chosen was true. Waiting for your business to come out of the red. Waiting for your child to come through.
And most times, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a day-in, day-out grind. A “stay the course” grit, tenacity and perseverance to wait.
It is a waiting that isn’t passive.
It is action oriented.