The Art Of Patience


If you have ever had surgery or have had to wait in the waiting room for someone in surgery, you know it’s a lot of sit-and-wait. So today, as I prepared to sit-and-wait for a loved one in surgery, I was ready… I brought my laptop, iPad, notebook, magazines, movies, and of course my iPhone. I brought a list of to-dos filled with: check email for this, log on to that, make sure you do this, and don’t forget to do that…

A few hours in, I sit in the waiting room surrounded by my devices, switching from watching movies on my laptop, to checking my emails on my iPad, to texting on my phone, all while busting through my checklist. I stopped to take a breather for a second and looked up to see an elderly black lady looking at me with curious eyes, watching me in my hustle and bustle around the waiting room. I paused what I was doing and realized that I have been sitting between the same two elderly ladies for the past three-four hours… And they have not moved one bit.

To my left, a Mexican women, silver hair cut into a bob, casual. To my right, a black lady, sophisticated short black hair in a head wrap, a cane rests on the chair next to her. Both women look in their eighties, and both are as patient as can be.

They have no laptop to focus their eyes on, no iPad to waist their time, or no phone to distract them. They simply have been sitting, not only in the same chair, but in the same position for at least the last three hours. I stopped what I was doing and just thought, “Wow, that is pure beauty.” These ladies are not antsy or fidgeting, they are simply just still and patient.  It’s not like our generation, our generation needs to be constantly busy, always doing something to feel comfortable with ourselves.

Once I realized these gems were next to me, I put majority of my stuff away, tried to take myself out of my busyness,  and just sat with them, patient…still. It was quite relaxing, a bit of a meditation of sort. It was hard but I enjoyed it. I tried to embrace what these ladies had, this art they possessed. It takes more in a person to sit in silence, in the same position for hours on end than it does for someone to bring a million things to do to distract their mind. It was a nice reminder and a true pleasure to be slowed down and just be in the moment we are in now. Our world moves in fast forward and it’s a gift when someone’s able to slow us down, take a breather, and embrace the world around us…even if its as uninteresting as a hospital waiting room… It’s an art.

**photo by Rob Cartwright*

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