Patience

Every single scar I have came from the same reason. My brother’s scars are all from daring, brash activities – jumping off the roof, sports, riding a bike too fast. Some people get scars from illness and surgeries. Mine don’t come from anything so daring or so noble.

When I was young, I cut my wrist quite badly carrying a box of sugary drinks that came in little glass jars. I had waited the entire car ride home and I couldn’t wait any longer to have some. Instead of carrying a smaller, lighter load I chose those bottles so that I could enjoy them right away.

Similarly, I injured my hand cutting a watermelon seconds after my mom told me to wait.

The kitchen mandolin and I have a toxic relationship. In my rush, I’ve allowed it to mangle all the parts of my hands on many occasions. I still can’t feel the tip of one finger!

I even have a scar from madly pulling weeds and scraping myself with a stick.

In my adulthood I don’t tend to get scars from my anticipation and impatience. I’ve added scars from furiously working a task because I was in emotional pain. In grieving some of my greatest losses, I often find myself too impatient to sit through the pain. In the short term it feels like an increase in the intensity of my actions shortens the time it takes to grieve. At the very least it serves as a distraction and release. Inevitably my flurry of motion caused scrapes, burns and scars from my careless actions.

Patience.

It’s the lesson I never seem to fully apply. I push through everything in a rush. I make quick work of cooking, cleaning and yard work. I push through work projects and charge through problems. I start to feel nervous and twitchy during any activity that last longer than an hour. I even do this for the fun things like golf scrambles and hair appointments!

My impatience has paved the way to more problems than cuts and scars. It has led me to have a lack of faith in people and processes. “I can do it faster.” started to become “I’ll just do it myself.”

“I’ll do it myself.” became “No one cares to help me.” That of course led to self-pity and a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Patience. If only I had learned this lesson sooner. Perhaps I could have made my marriage work. Perhaps I could have learned to be a better friend and partner. Perhaps I would have put my faith in the right people and the necessary processes. Perhaps I would have prettier hands.

As these silly scars heal, I’m forcing myself to live with the slow, agonizing process of sitting with a loss. I understand now that I cannot rush this. Forging ahead on new projects, relationships or anything else with intent to avoid this process won’t clear my pain any faster.

Patience is the only way through. Patience may lead to finally seeing the people who care about me. It might mean I won’t need self-pity. Patience means that I open my life to something meaningful. It might mean that what I slowly learn will open my mind and life to greater things. Patience might save me a few scars.

Carrie Stephenson
Carrie Stephenson is an indirect tax specialist and audit firm manager. She combines her experience in the field of auditing with her interest in personal growth in order to serve as an “audit mom” for her team. Carrie is passionate about bringing fresh perspective and creativity to problem solving both at home and in the office.

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