Patience in the Unseen

They say patience is a virtue. And in many aspects of my life, I would say I uphold that attribute. I am not one to get mad being behind a slow driver. Honestly, there are some days I will purposely stay there not as a test of my patience but as a reminder to stop rushing through life, to enjoy the ride, to take time to take in the moment and what is around me. I do not get impatient for my food to come at restaurants. When it gets there it does and I will enjoy the company and the conversations until then. On Christmas mornings, I have no issue waiting for everyone to wake up to open presents. I sit and wait my turn as we go around alternating opening one package at a time. And I have without a doubt mastered the ability to sit without complaining in the waiting room of doctors’ offices as they run half an hour, one hour, two hours behind schedule.

But I am not perfect.

There are some aspects of my life, however, where patience runs thin, when what I want I want to happen now and what I want I want to have in this moment. Certain things I just do not want to have to wait to obtain. My recovery from anorexia was a perfect example of this. When I first embarked on this journey, I had in my mind a timeline of how and when things would be done. By this day, I will have accomplished this and by this month, I will have done this and by the end of the year, I will be there. Everything was planned to happen quickly and designed to give me the results I wanted without testing my patience. I wanted to wake up and my body be restored. I wanted to take a pill and all the thoughts be gone. I wanted to bypass the work and the pain and get to the end the minute I decided I wanted recovery. I had no patience to wait for the thoughts to subside, for the weight to redistribute, for my body to get adjusted to normal eating. I had no tolerance for the time it would take to undo the damage and to feel like I once did in a simpler time.

I wanted the impossible.

I had a timeline and that timeline was created with my impatient thinking. It was not practical for the battle from which I was coming out. It was illogical considering the darkness in which I was living. It was based on my need for instant satisfaction; the same desire that helped bring me to that place. I needed to dictate and control the course of the journey in a pace that would get me to the end fast. I needed to have it happen in my way.

I wanted the imperfect to be flawless.

But what nobody told me and what I had to learn on my own was that recovery has no frame of time in which to be walked. Recovery is unpredictable. It is not a smooth line up. There are twists and there are falls that will set you back. There is pain and there is struggle that will delay any plans you have in mind. Your desire is going to be tested every single minute of the day. At moments coming out of it are going to look messier than being in it.

That truth threw me for a loop.

I let the frustration of what was not happening that I wished was and what was happening that I thought would not be a battle anymore dictate my actions. Instead of sitting with the discomfort and allowing myself to dwell in the body in the constant stage of transition, I reverted back to behaviors to not have to feel it all. I went back to what broke me thinking it could put me together after what I perceived to be me as falling apart in my choosing to live I had no patience to keep fighting for what appeared to be causing a greater destruction. I had no patience to wait for the beauty that would come from the brokenness. I had no patience to see what the ashes would create. I did not have the patience to battle what seemed never-ending.

There is no one and done in recovery.

It is a repetitive battle, needing to face the same thing over and over and over again to conquer it. But I did not want to have to do it repeatedly. I got mad that I could not be free without pain and without additional scars. The anger I would let begin the cycle again of restricting. I ended up only prolonging the dream of recovery. I ended up only making the impatience grow. Because I was not seeing my desired results, I saw no reason to keep trying. Because nothing was occurring in the perfect way, it never would. Because I was struggling to fulfill my timeline, I was a failure and I punished myself for that. Because I could not see the end, there must not have been one.

But I am here to tell you there is.

You are going to reach parts in your own journey you will walk with no end in sight, no light to guide you. This does not mean you stop walking. This does not mean you turn to the familiar, following your footprints back to the prison you once called home. This does not mean nothing is waiting for you, no dreams are longing to have you make them real. This does not mean this fight is not yours to claim victory over.

The journey for what we want most is going to inevitably be long.

Dorothy walked a great distance before seeing the Emerald City. She had to keep walking the yellow brick road, following the path, and believing in what she could not see. Just because we cannot see what we have been told is at the end, does not mean it does not exist. You must have faith in what is not yet visible to the eye. Dorothy took her faith in this place that could take her home and let it guide her there. She had to work for what she wanted most. She had to fight hard for that dream to come alive. What she endured became a true test of what home meant to her. Flying monkeys and trees throwing apples and poppies to put her to sleep and a witch out to destroy crossed her path to try to stop her. And even when she conquered those obstacles, she faced another in having to obtain the broom of the witch. It was a battle won with another waiting to be fought. But as we all know, Dorothy kept going and she found her way home. With patience and perseverance, her heart’s desire was fulfilled.

Each of us is a Dorothy.

We all have our yellow brick roads in life. Once one ends, another comes. Some may lead to multiple destinations. Some we may walk simultaneously. We must be willing walk them. We must wait patiently for the Emerald City to appear. Trust the journey. Trust in the forests you face and the nights that come that the darkness will not last forever. As you move forward despite it all, you will be given what you need to overcome. You will find the wisdom to make decisions to propel your steps, courage to keep going despite what may come your way, and the heart to love yourself through it all and the journey itself for what it will make you. The road has a purpose. I find more glory in the journey than I do in the destination.

The key is to have patience.

Patience is the calm acceptance things can happen in a different order than you had in me. Take the journey step by step. Do not rush through it because of the preconceived idea of where you should be. I know you want nothing more than to be living your dream. I know the feeling of it being all you think about, what puts you to sleep and wakes you up in the morning. You breathe in the possibilities every day. You build your future upon it happening. It cannot come soon enough. But remind yourself in the times of impatience and frustration, if you are on an eighteen hour road trip, you cannot return in two hours. Take into account the time spent to have gotten to where you are. Be gracious with yourself and in the timing of being set free. The dream is not going to leave as long as you do not abandon it. Wait for it and it will wait for you.

Hope, love, and blessings,

J.L