Patience Training from Every Side

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Life seems to be conspiring to teach me patience.

Sickness? Slows me down. Makes me wait. Makes me rest.

Scheduling Conflicts? Makes me not get what I want. Makes me feel useless.

Grief? Makes me emotional, not clear-headed. Makes me feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.

and now, today, Work. Long hours of work. A never-ending to-do list makes me work, but more importantly, makes me wait for others who I need to help me before I can complete tasks.

Sometimes, I need to learn a lesson, and life is teaching me now; since marriage began, I’ve noticed that I have some circumstances in which I’m patient and can adjust expectations, and others (especially in my home life) where I’m truly a child. It’s been getting better, but life has ramped it up to a new level lately. I’m having to understand that sometimes sickness, schedules, grief, and work are going to conspire to take away my feelings of control and strength.

And that is okay. It really is. It feels awful when it’s happening, but every single time I adjust, I look out from my new place of belief, and realizeĀ what I wanted all along was not so much better than this. They are roughly the same, this world and the one I wanted so badly.

I think of my parents’ turtle in moments like these. He does do a whole lot, mostly sitting and sunning himself all day, but when a cricket or a fish happen near him, his head can rear into action and snap them up. I want to be the person who can wait; this just happens to be a season when I’m having to learn and re-learn this patience every day.

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You cannot be a fair weather friend when you own a house.

There has been less cooking than usual in our house this weekend. The reason is that we had a lot of rain for a few days, and the city where we live has a rather old storm water/sewer system. The result was an inch of muck and water in our basement, coming up through the drains. Eek.

We found it Friday afternoon, and after a brief bit of non-elegant annoyance, I settled in to the reality of our weekend. With bleach and brooms and piles of wet cardboard being thrown into our trash bin, we cleared out the basement, disinfected it, and returned it to a state that was actually far cleaner than it had been before. Judging from the others who had water in their basements near us, we actually got lucky – for the most part, ours pooled over the drains and went back down as the storm water pipes got less overwhelmed. Still, there was damage to lots of stuff, and it made me decide never to leave clothes in laundry baskets on my basement floor… goodbye, fair clothing!

Just like I was talking about with handmade gifts and handmade food, this weekend made me realize that what I’ve committed to this house with Husband is more than I committed to apartments (all I’ve ever lived in as an adult). If you buy your apartment rather than renting it, you do this same thing. You are committed to learning as the home goes through troubles – sure, you may have insurance, but you might have to learn what you want to file claims about, and learn how you will replace what was lost. Husband and I spent much of yesterday figuring out what we want in a hot water heater (you have no idea the options if you’ve never had to do this), and feeling at a loss quite often.

What comforts me is that the house will get fixed through channels that others have gone through before and can help us deal with. We will be able to, someday, tell others about how we got water out of our basement and how we picked the hot water heater that worked for us, and how it got paid for and installed. Doing everything that is new and strange for me this year has been tough, but I have to think about the information about fixing a house the way I look at a new recipe: namely, someone has made this work before, and even though I will probably modify the steps and ingredients a little, I can make it work for me too.