Jun 2, 2010

Patience, patience

I had a student ask me the other day, "Everyone is making mistakes and you correct everyone over and over again.  How can you be so patient?"  What is patience?  I mean, I was taking time and paying attention, is that what patience is?

How many times  have we told ourselves, "I need to be more patient"  Lots and lots of things require patience every day. With our jobs, our activities, our kids activities, friends, family, and daily living chores like laundry and grocery shopping, everything competes for our time and attention.  Some days it seems like we have barely time enough to breathe. Yet patience takes time, and in our lives we have precious little of that commodity.

In spite of all of our busy lives, we live a life of convenience.  My parents had only one car and my dad drove to work.  My mom took the bus to work. My grandparents had no car. Necessity makes one patient.  When you have little, it just takes more time to do things and so you must plan accordingly.  The expectation that things will happen in a certain time frame makes you impatient.  

With convenience comes the expectation that things will be easy.  When they are not, it makes you impatient.  When things don't go as you planned, it makes you impatient.  When people don't do as you want, it makes you impatient. When you are not as fast or as good as you thought you were, it makes you impatient. When you are not doing the things we want to do, it makes you impatient.

Clearly, there is a tide of things that contribute to our impatience, but not so much that pulls us to be more patient.  Patience is a virtue and we have to work very hard at it.  In the tea room is a place to put aside some of the expectations.  If we expect nothing, there is nothing to pull us to impatience.

Last week, I was listening to my granddaughter tell me about her day.  She was going on and on telling me every little detail --  "First I opened my eyes, then I got up and went downstairs in my jammies.  I decided to have cereal for breakfast so I got a bowl and then the Honey Nut cheerios, and a spoon.  I opened the refrigerator and got out the milk. Then I opened the milk...."  It went on and one like this for about 20 minutes.  But you know, I wasn't impatient.  I listened to her with love.  When I have loving thoughts about that little girl, I have all the patience I need. 


  1. There is a magic line on patience in the movie Dersou Ouzala (by Kurosawa Akira), a slow movie full of patience itself, an ode to nature and how humans are so small and fragile in front of it.

    The line is about impatience and time. I can't remember it now, but know it had a strong impact on how I percieve things.

  2. Annoymous,
    Thank you for your comment. I will have to see that movie. Patience and time. I do hope you can find the quote; I'd like to see it.


  3. Dear Margie,

    You have to see that film. Kurosawa is a genius and deserves attention. All of his movies show humanity in its many facets. Many of them take place in ancient Japan (Ran, Kagemusha, The Seven Samourai, Rashomon) and are filmed with a Japanese touch and a more generally asian tempo (read very slow, with many silent or only musical long scenes). As you have an interest for tea and, I guess, Japan, you will probably love Rashomon or Spider Web Castle.

    Dersou Ouzala (I guess it is Dersu Uzala in English) is of a different type, I may say. Even less spoken parts, even more image-oriented scenes. It takes place in the marvelous but hostile Siberian Taiga. The story is fantastic and a great lesson.

    I was looking to find that line, but could not put my hands on it on the web. I believe it is a clear signal for me to see the movie again (I watched it 10-12 years ago). I also get the message this quote will have a more important impact if not revealed here, but only in context. I am sure you won't be disappointed.

    Not an easy movie to find though.


  4. Phillipe,
    I will search for the movie. I have seen some of Kurosawa's films: Ran, Kagemusha, The Seven Samurai, Yojimbo among others.


  5. Rashomon -an old movie (1950)- and Dersu Uzala are very different from the ones you have quoted above. For someone enjoying rhythm and patience, but also nature (and human nature), they are best.


  6. Phillipe,
    Thank you. I will look for them.