Patience vs. Action

Move forward! On to the next thing! Onwards and upwards!


I just was outside walking in the wind – clouds were scudding furiously across the sky. The gusts were close to 35 miles an hour. They took me by surprise and pushed me in the opposite direction than my feet were leading.  As the air rushed past my face making my pony tail fly straight out in back of me, I felt some of the musty thought cobwebs being blown clean out of my head.


Could the windy day be a metaphor for my life? Was my impatience to get somewhere leading me in the wrong direction? Or was my attempt at plodding patience heading me down the wrong path? Where was the wind pushing me – towards my vision or away from it?


Patience or the lack thereof has played a large part in my life. Knowing its proper place has been a conundrum for me at times. When a man took me to the top of a hill overlooking the sea at sunset and asked me to marry him, I jumped right in and agreed. I had known him for only 6 months. Perhaps because my agreement had been so impulsive and quick, I mustered the necessary patience to stay in that marriage for 16 long years.


During my formative years of dance training, I drank in not only technique but the concept of discipline. Progress in perfecting the instrument of a dancer often goes at a slow pace. Consistent practice, hard work and patience with the process are essential.  I was and still am capable of great “staying power”.


However, often my first response is a desire for action. During spats with family members or friends, I usually am the first to reach out with an olive branch. Around conference tables, I quickly assume the role of peacemaker for conflicting viewpoints. Long discussions that replay the issues over and over again drive me to distraction. I want to get out into the world, move on, and take action!


Still, I was recently reminded again that waiting patiently has its rewards. Restraining from personally creating a solution and allowing the differing parties to find their own way produced the appropriate answer to a conflict. It was a resolution that meant more because it evolved organically. Rather than me impatiently imposing a remedy for the impasse, the disagreement’s solution was able to come from the antagonists because there was no need to rush.


There is, obviously, a proper time for patience and, alternatively, a suitable time for action. It sometimes is hard to know the difference.



© 2012 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.