A worried mother went to visit her toddler’s pediatrician concerned that her son was still not speaking. After a quick exam, the doctor offered the mother specific advice, “Go home, pack a few bags, load up the car seat, and start driving. After about an hour, maybe sooner, start to listen from the backseat, and you’ll hear little Billy speak.” Somewhat skeptical, but completely confident in the doctor’s credentials, the mother went home and followed the instructions to the letter. Carefully watching the clock, after being on the road one hour, the mother turned the radio down and begin to listen intently. Sure enough, babbling began to emanate from the backseat. In a few seconds, the babbling turned more coherent and soon Billy’s first words could be heard: “Are we there yet?”
Well, are we? We’ve all posed the infamous child’s question time and again, and not just in our childhood. Waiting is not a strong suit for many of us, myself included. And as that waiting builds for happy occasions and even sad, many times our lack of patience leads to worry. The joyful anticipation for a vacation can quickly turn into worries about what might go wrong if we let our minds wander too freely. But the easiest remedy is simple: Patience. These instructions should perhaps come with a disclaimer that your columnist ranks very low on the patience list. I, too, get anxious, stressed, concerned, waiting for whatever is around the bend. I find it difficult to slow my mind and stop the worries. However, when I begin to live in the present time, to exercise that patience that is sometimes so difficult to grasp, the worries begin to melt away.
These uncertain times have many of us asking, “Are we there yet?” “When will we get back to normal?” (By the way, if you thought the crazy world we live in was anything close to normal before the pandemic, I’ll gladly trade places with you!) No, there is no “normal” to get back. Our world is ever-changing and what may be the norm for today will certainly disappear by tomorrow. Rocked like a boat on stormy seas, we can become disillusioned and filled with worry bordering on panic. Patience, however, can bring us the much-needed calm for the storm. Learning to live in the present, focused on not only the tasks, but the joys of TODAY, can be a crucial step in building up our resistance to worry and dread.
I pray that each of you, my dear readers, are staying safe and healthy, and I anxiously (er, PATIENTLY, yes!) await the days when we can begin to see each other on the streets and in the shops once again. Until that time, until we get there, my very best to each and every one of you.