Patience: The Art Of Being OK Not Getting What You Want When You Want It
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I remember that feeling I experienced when I had to wait for each Harry Potter book to be released. For months, and even sometimes years, I'd be left on pins and needles, wondering what was next, who would die, and how Harry would defeat Voldemort. Kids now-a-days who get to read through the whole series without having to wait don't understand the months of anxiety and speculation and drama that preceded the release of each book, and the overwhelming joy that ensued when I finally got my greedy little hands on a copy.
I experience similar feelings recently when I got introduced to Breaking Bad. It had been a long time since I had to count down months, then weeks, then days until the big finale. The waiting was almost torturous. I'd find a way to bring the series up in conversation at nearly any opportunity, and when people didn't know what I was talking about, I'd try to convert them.
Harry Potter and Walter Wight... They have taught me the virtue of patience.
Or at least that's what I thought.
It wasn't until I met Roger and Judy that I realized the "patience" I exercised while waiting for cookies to bake in the oven is just a drop in the bucket compared to what is often required to experience a deeply loving and satisfying relationship... the kind of relationship that some people only dream of.
When What You Want Means Waiting...
Roger and Judy met in a very small town where everybody knew nearly everybody else. One day he walked into a hotel, and saw this beautiful woman with amazing legs answer the phone, and he was sold. He knew they had to be together.
Over the next few months as they became fast friends, feelings began to develop. They wanted to be together, but Judy was already married. Her husband - a helicopter pilot - had been sent off to the Vietnam War and was proclaimed Missing in Action after he was shot down behind enemy lines. The military informed Judy that it was highly unlikely that anyone would survive a crash of that nature, but until they were certain, they could not proclaim her husband as Killed in Action.
Their friendship grew as Judy overcame the hardship of losing her husband, and Roger patiently acted as a friend and support to her.
Even when feelings began to develop between them, they exercised patience, and did not disrespect the vows Judy had made with her missing husband.
Over a year later, Judy received confirmation that her husband had, in fact, been killed in action, which allowed for Roger and Judy's relationship began to progress into something more serious.
Roger attributes this time of healing, and waiting, and building a solid, steady friendship as essential to creating a the strong, stable foundation their relationship now rests on. The care and love they developed for each other ran incredibly deep before they were ever romantically involved with each other.
Their willingness to be patient added a whole new depth and dynamic to their relationship.
Sometimes You Get What You Want... Just Not The Way You Planned
After getting married, Roger and Judy wanted to have children. It wasn't long before they found out that they couldn't have kids on their own.
Anyone who has struggled with this can attest to the fact that it is maximum suckitude. It can take a toll on a relationship. When people get married, nobody plans to not be able to make babies. It's not something you can anticipate.
The realization can make a person feel empty and hollow. It can be incredibly overwhelming, emotional, and discouraging.
But rather than lose hope, Roger and Judy decided to try for adoption.
They filed their paperwork and began the familiar process of waiting.
They waited for weeks. Then months. Then a year.
They prayed. They hoped. They leaned on each other for strength.
They practiced patience until their patience ran out... and then they practiced some more.
Then, the call came, and they welcomed their first child into their home.
In a matter of years they had 3 more children, all adopted, and all incredibly loved.
What does it mean?!
I guess the point of all this is that life just doesn't often work the way we expect it to.
The plans we make for ourselves are often foiled by serendipity and happenstance. Our biggest struggles and unexpected challenges can lead us to our most satisfying victories. The longest waits often result in the greatest payoff.
So, if there's something you're fighting for, or working for, or wishing for... hang in there. Be patient. Keep focusing on that goal. But don't forget to check your peripheral vision. Sometimes the answers we're most ready for aren't exactly where we expect them to appear.