I am one of those people who believe that life is a journey towards our perfection. I believe that we acquire whatever virtues we need as we move along. Today I understand that the reason I publish my work is to learn patience. It took me six years to write my latest novel (I confess that I enjoyed each and every one of those 2,190 days); I spent a year dressing it up with the help of many angels (I'm so grateful to my angels!); six months went by before my publisher said YES (I suffered every second of the wait) and two more months before I finally got a contract.
Today I still don’t know when the novel will be available to my readers. Maybe next spring, they tell me. Maybe. So much is contained within that little word "maybe"! Still, I am at peace with uncertainty because, after all, this is my third novel. In fact, as I grow older, "maybe" has become one of my favorite words. I use it all the time. This is not to say that I have finally learned to be patient. No. I find, my dear readers, that patience is a bottomless pit of gold. It is not something you just get, but something you keep digging for. And there is never enough.
In my moments of impatience I try to remember those who really know how to be patient. For example, I think about:
- The parents of the missing students in Ayotzinapa who wait for justice.
- Immigrants waiting for an immigration reform.
- People waiting for a cure to a terminal illness.
- Innocent prisoners waiting to be exonerated.
- The unemployed man who cannot find a job.
- The beggar in the corner who is starving.
I remember the story a beloved writer once told me. She is Cuban and she lived through the fall of Batista and the coming to power of Fidel Casto. She, a well-respected professional, was forced to work in a factory sewing buttons. Thus she spent hours, days and months. I am not sure how many years passed before she was finally able to leave Cuba. “What a waste of life!” I exclaimed, horrified, when she shared her story. "Nothing in life is a waste, María” she replied, smiling. “You have no idea of how much I learned.”
When I think them, the masters of patience, I am ashamed of myself. My plight seems so trivial, in comparison. A small step to climb. So I return to my waiting feeling grateful for the inconsequence of my predicament. After all, life is eternal. What's the rush?
But tell me, my dear readers, how do you practice patience?