“Don’t pray for patience girl….you will get yourself into a hot mess that will never end.” This was advice from an older teacher that I worked with in Baltimore. I was young. She was not. She had stories, scars, and a sense of humor that would make me pee my pants. I thought I knew it all like most 20 somethings. Her words of wisdom stuck with me over 20+ years. I never, ever, ever, prayed for patience….but here I am.
I am a fixer. If you are ever in a situation with me that calls for a cool head and a plan of attack, I am your woman. I got it covered. I do all of the things….as long as there is control. But what about when there isn’t? Have you ever realized how much of life is not in our control? Health? Death? People’s actions? Consequences? We really do not control as much as we would like to think.
I have learned that for me there is a process that I go through when I am given bad news that is not something I can control. The teacher in me likes to break things down to the smallest parts, analyze them, and put them back together in a way that I can understand it better. There is a process of waiting that I have learned to work through. This is not researched, it has just been experienced and I have a feeling I may not be the only person that struggles with this.
This can’t be happening. Are you serious? No. No. I do not accept this. This can’t be right. We will get a second opinion. We can try this. Or this. What about this? No.
I frantically search my brain to see if it can be solved despite being told that it can’t. I stay in this mode for however long it takes trying to solve a problem that I can’t solve. I like to spin my wheels and that leads to the next phase.
Last year our crazy dog was on a leash and he ran after something taking my middle finger with him while I stayed where I was. He actually broke my finger but when everyone standing there asked me if I was okay, I said, “Yeah…I am fine.” I got in the car and I let the &%$# fly. Holy macaroni! It freaking hurt!!!! This is the second part. We have a lot on the inside that is going on more than we let the outside see.
You realize that you do not have control and the emotions begin to settle. Anger, sadness, exasperation, exhaustion, regret, grief, and the list goes on. Many times through our insistence that “WE ARE FINE!”, we really are not. This is where the struggle is because this part is the part that we often try to skip but it is the area where we grow the most.
We like to go to from denial to pulling up our big girl pants and dealing with it. I get it. I do it. BUT, I am learning that those emotions are real and they need to be expressed and felt especially in a life changing event. This is coming from someone that has stuffed things for over 30+ years.
“I am okay. I am okay. I am okay…” isn’t a coping mechanism. It is still denial.
I am the worst at feeling the feelings. I am learning that it is healthy and necessary to allow yourself to work through this process on your time table…not somebody else’s. As a mom, I want my girls to know that it is okay to have feelings and emotions. What we do with them and how we respond are two different things.
During this process, I also look for the good. I celebrate small things when I can. Dinner together as a family. I savor it. My husband reaching for my hand to hold. Hope. Both girls in a good mood at the same time. Bingo. One girl in a good mood. I will take it. No dogs eating a piece of the house. Yay. Simple things become the most important and the most appreciated. Looking for the good helps you to balance out the bad.
I am learning to feel these feelings and I do not need a safe space, just a few good friends and a physical outlet to express myself. I need a place to entertain my “What if’s…” and a short pity party. Those emotions come and go and leave you feeling stronger because it takes you to the next part.
After you have felt the hurt, anger, frustration, regret, guilt, etc. you begin to look around and see that that pain didn’t destroy you. It hurt. It was hard. And you can handle hard things. You learn that no matter what the outcome is…you will be okay. There is a peace that comes upon you. That peace makes the struggle worth it. It will change you…it always does. But you will have grown. It always hurts before you grow.
Wait on a test. Patience. Wait on an appointment. Patience. Wait on results. Patience. Wait to see if you are healing. Patience. Wait on more appointments. Patience. Wait on a plan of action. Patience. Waiting on answers. Patience.
I have realized that we spend most of our life in the waiting process. We wait on things constantly. The small waiting develops you for the big trials of waiting which gives you confidence. I see this process in the smallest moments to the biggest moments. I have learned that every moment matters to teach us and guide us for something bigger. Be realistic and celebrate what you can and mourn what is lost. You will be okay. You are still here. You are still fighting. You are still waiting. You are developing patience.