"The secret to patience is doing something else in the meantime while you wait."
I believe that was what the fortune cookie said that I opened many years ago.
This morning - I spent three hours - yes THREE HOURS on hold with the Internal Revenue Service. I waited for half an hour - then was told I needed a different department - was transferred - and waited another HOUR. This happened a series of times until I finally got to the right person who told me I had to mail in my question, she couldn't help me over the phone.
Now I could say that I wasted three hours waiting, but I didn't. Instead, I cleaned up some of the piles on the floor of my office that have been waiting for me to get to them for weeks. And I did some filing. And I took the dog out. And brought her back in again. All the while the all too short hold music loop continued.
I feel like I'm euphemistically "on hold" right now waiting for some answers to fairly significant life questions. When my impatience starts to get the better of me, I try to remember the words of that fortune cookie. I've surrendered the questions to God's hands, and taken them back, and surrendered them, and taken them back, oh, about a billion times (you know how that goes, right?) and in the meantime I do other things.
Then of course there is this wonderful piece of graffiti, in the parking lot at the same beach. "Some day today will be a long time ago."
When I wrote the first draft of this blog earlier today I was sitting in a favorite spot at Megansett Beach, where for some odd reason I have not gone all summer. It felt like a homecoming of sorts. And also a great reminder of the passage of time, and problems.
A house that held special meaning for me twenty years ago - I could see it from where I sat - had been torn down and rebuilt. Things stay the same and they change all in the same breath.
I can remember sitting at the end of the jetty at this beach, praying for direction, before I moved to the Cape, when it was barely a dream. That was twenty years ago. Now I have called this place home for nineteen years. Time passes. I was impatient for an answer then. Now, twenty years later, here I sit.
I was about thirty five years old then. Twenty years ago. In another twenty years I will be in my mid-seventies. It will serve me well to be less impatient with this next block of time. To savor every juicy moment for the breath it holds. For sun, and rain, and work, play, and sleep and yes, even time on the phone waiting for the IRS.
If I'm lucky, really lucky, I will be blessed to be able to still sit in this place in twenty years. But life is uncertain.
So I put on my suit and went for a swim before I headed home to shower and open the gallery for a little while tonight, to finish a painting that has been sold and awaits delivery. It was begun six years ago. And moved to about half a dozen places, including in and out of the same place twice.
Today I swam twice. Because here on September 7, the days are growing all too few until the water grows too cold to do so. I couldn't get enough of it.
Work early, work late, swim in the middle. Liike the perfect Oreo cookie! My swim is the vanilla cream in the middle of my day. If I'm lucky.
And I pray, "Thank you, God, for being patient with me, when I grow impatient with you."