This has to be one of the most confusing phrases I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot!. During my life trial, I was told repeatedly what a patient woman I was. Here is the question, how can you be waiting patiently, or even patiently waiting, if you are in fact engaged in the act of waiting?
Waiting: The action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. Antonym: Go, Act, Do
Patiently: In a way that shows tolerance of delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. Antonym: Hostile, impatient, agitated
When we wait, it is often because we need or want something to happen and sometimes not by choice. I would guess that if we are waiting for something that we have chosen, like an upcoming vacation or something of that nature, then yes, maybe we could be patient about it. However, what about when we are waiting for the light at the end of a tunnel, or for a hardship to end? How in those times, can we practice patience? Think about the last time you were waiting at a red light that seemed to go on forever, were you feeling agitated, or did you hear the sounds of chirping birds? Being in the act of waiting, I think, automatically makes for an impatient environment.
Looking back on the times when I was waiting and feeling agitated or annoyed, those are the times when people told me what a patient woman I was, when in fact I was the opposite. Either I did a good job of hiding my frustration, or that phrase is just one that will forever be misused.
There are so many situations in life that call for us to wait and perhaps we should be spending that time in a state of patience, but for most, it becomes an anxious state. In these intolerant circumstances, our pulse rises, our palms sweat, we become irritable and highly emotional, none of which are good for our soul or daily living. These types of reactions can make us ugly, turning us into a not so friendly, unattractive version of ourselves and can be detrimental to our future.
Let us try to put this misused phrase into practice. Have you ever seen an ugly butterfly? It may surprise you, but I have seen a few! These particular butterflies have tattered wings and I often wondered if they were weakened in the chrysalis or just a little beat up from life. I assume it is the latter, but what if they are “ugly” due to the way they waited in the chrysalis. I do not know what the caterpillar goes through emotionally or mentally, if anything at all. What I do know is that they are forced to wait, and not by choice.
Let us think about what it might feel like to wait in the chrysalis. If the caterpillar were “waiting patiently”, I would imagine the environment as being dark but warm; lonely but quiet; constricted but free. In the dark, it senses the warmth provided by its surrounding cover easing it gently into a calmness. When it is lonely, the intimacy provides a beautiful quiet, and in the small space, it knows that hanging on just a bit longer, will lead to ultimate freedom. What I think this all means is that the patient part of waiting is a choice.
I say, it is worth a try! Next time you are stuck in traffic or on the verge of a panic because something has not happened yet, practice being a caterpillar just for a moment and let the stillness take you to new heights!
Do you have tips on how to “wait patiently”? Please share in the comments.
Kimberly, Courageous Butterfly