I am not a patient person.
In looking through my senior memory book last week I found a note from a dear, high school friend that said, “I love being your friend, even though you are really, really impatient.” And if I’m honest with myself (and I try to always be honest with myself), I haven’t changed much in that regard.
Sorry, not sorry.
There is something inside of me that burns blue hot flame trying to get out into the world. I see a problem, I want to do what I can to fix it. And yet, throughout my life, I have been confronted with…
It’s not time yet, Marta.
People aren’t ready for what you have to say, Marta.
You’re making people uncomfortable, Marta.
Slow down, Marta. Give people a chance to catch up to where you’re going.
On rare occasions, I would listen. In my youth it was far more common for me to put my cause on my back and drag it up a mountain of sorrow to do what I thought was right.
That labor came at a high cost. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to bite my tongue for the sake of decorum.
That was the most frequent response I had to mash down. Why should I wait on the sidelines when I see someone in need and I have the ability to help them? How can anyone expect me to behave in that cruel of a manner? But it’s funny how life can teach you a lesson you didn’t even know you needed.
I had a friend once who meant the world to me. That friend hit a point in their lives where things got very difficult and I in my infinite wisdom decided that I could fix it. I did many things with the best of intentions thinking that I was being the friend I needed to be. Surprise! It all ended very badly. That friend and I never speak and I did great harm to my mental, emotional and physical self in my efforts to play God.
I am thankful to have made it out of that experience intact. In hindsight I now recognize that I was not the person meant to intervene in my friend’s life in that way. Now, I carry the reminder of that lesson like a brand.
Take care, Marta. The time needs to be right. The calling needs to be right. It’s not just about what YOU want.
That’s a tough pill to swallow for a “doer” like me. But I take my medicine every day. Before I move to intervene in a situation there are a few vital questions I ask myself:
1. Are you fully aware of the facts in the situation?
2. Did the person in question ask you specifically for help?
3. Have you prayed and asked for guidance on how to respond to the situation?
Those three questions have stopped me from charging off blindly into a great many situations. It is by no means easy to hold my ground when I am pulled to reach out and “do”, but checking my motivations for action is a critical part of my personal peace of mind.
I promise you, I am still not a patient person. Yet, I am on the path to understanding the need for patience and discernment. With each passing day I get a little bit closer to my goal of becoming a practitioner of patience.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.