A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 266: Saturday Life Quotes – Patience


“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” – Hal Borland

In yesterday’s post, I pondered the quality of patience. Continuing in that thought, I decided to post various quotes on patience today.

Considering the furious pace and millisecond attention spans of our day, patience would seem to be in short supply. But I suspect that I am not alone in the pursuit of it. Though, I must confess, some days it feels like I’m on a snipe hunt. Does patience really exist? Or is it hanging out with the jackalopes and Sasquatch?

Sometimes I feel like the possibility of finding any patience in me is a lost cause. Certainly, it helps to pause… reflect… and take in some words from other people on the subject. That, in itself, is proof that at least a smidge of patience still survives in me. I’m hoping to do better. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see…

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” – A.A. Milne

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Aristotle

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” – Leo Tolstoy

“It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.” – Elizabeth Taylor (English novelist)

“I heard a preacher say recently that hope is a revolutionary patience; let me add that so is being a writer. Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”  – Anne Lamott

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.” – Lao Tzu

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” – David G. Allen

“Be worthy love, and love will come.” – Louisa May Alcott

“Our patience will achieve more than our force.” – Edmund Burke

“Patience is not a virtue. It is an achievement.” – Vera Nazarian

“An alternative to love is not hate but patience.” – Santosh Kalwar

“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” – Helen Keller

“What good has impatience ever brought? It has only served as the mother of mistakes and the father of irritation.” – Steve Maraboli

“Make your ego porous. Will is of little importance, complaining is nothing, fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 265: Illustrated Quote for Friday

Adopt the pace of nature

My final installment of illustrated quotes comes from the pen of American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. I think I may have been subconsciously testing the patience of the viewer by how I scrawled this quote into the bark of the tree. Let me help you out: “Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.”

When I read that quote the first image that came to mind was a tree. No big surprise as I am a major tree-lover. I have never hugged a tree, mind you, except in jest. However, I do confess to talking to them, thanking them, and giving them a loving touch every now and again. I am always very impressed by trees – beauty, strength, personality: they have it all! To me, they are perhaps the greatest living things on this planet (sorry, human race – you don’t even come close to cracking my Top Ten). I love the big, leafy buggers. So it is no surprise that a tree came to mind instantly.

The unique part of the image was that it was of one of those incredible trees that finds root and grows out of a rock face! This past summer, while cottage-ing in Quebec, as I was in a kayak silently gliding by the shore, I was taken aback at the impressive feat those tenacious trees had accomplished. Of course, tenacity is the word that seems to fit. But “patience”? Why did this image come to mind with Emerson’s quote, which emphasizes the patient quality of nature?

As I was drawing this illustrated quote, I was thinking on that question. Really, it makes perfect sense. The patience of nature is on display in those trees finding a place to grow and mature in the cleft of a rock. Consider these questions: How long have those rocks been there? How long did it take through erosion, the expansion and contraction of hot and cold, to create the fissures in those rocks? After that, how long did it take for those cracks to fill up with the needed soil and nutrients to make a suitable place for a tree? And then how long did it take for a seed to find root and to grow in that seemingly harsh plot of ground? How long did it take for it to become that silent sentinel on the rock?

It was all accomplished at nature’s pace, hundreds if not thousands of years in the making.  That is patience.

Is it even possible for me to adopt this pace? I’m not sure. But it sounds so wonderful. The pace of life running the human race is brutal. There is no time for taking your time, or so it seems. Yet isn’t it true that the most beautiful things, the things worthy of remembering and passing on, the things that reach to the deepest places in who we are, have all been built over the long haul? Our culture is impressed by the Big Flash in the Pan, the viral sensations, the latest of this or that. But that wears thin exceedingly fast and we are quick to shuffle off one fad for another one that comes hard on its heels.

For me, the quote from Emerson, and the lesson from nature, reminds me that the most important things in my life are those things I have been given to care for, nurture, and develop over the course of time. Many of those things will outlive me, ironically enough.  But what of it? Am I so important that I cannot be simply a part of something great and not the great thing itself? Of course not.

I have been given what amounts to a brief span of time but that doesn’t mean I’m in a sprint to the finish. Instead, if I live humbly, seek good things, work to focus my energies and loves on the really important aspects of life, then the number of years becomes immaterial. Then I don’t need to race, heart pounding in my chest. Then I can relax, enjoy the scenery, and feel content in the place I play in the pace that creates things that are true; things that really last.