Patience, The Unforgotten Virtue

The holiday hoopla was in full swing. The roads in south florida were getting more and more congested with snowbirds escaping the increasing cold temperatures up north and this just adds to the anxiety in the air.

We all seem to be in a hurry to get somewhere quick.

I am in the business of making women beautiful and this time of year gets especially busy. Knowing that my schedule will be hectic, I planned ahead for my own personal beauty treats, so as to not neglect my own self in the holiday frenzy. I know we all want to look our best at the Thanksgiving table.

I had made an appointment with my favorite manicurist on my only day off before Thanksgiving. I put the appointment on my iphone calendar with a handy alert set to remind me the day before of the exact time, and anyone who knows me knows that I suffer from an “on time” disease. I work by appointments myself and revere staying on schedule.

I knew I was early for my appointment and was prepared to relax. However, I was not pleased when the not-so-english speaking receptionist could not find my appointment anywhere on the schedule.

Now, this was trying my patience.

You know when you plan, and things don’t go according to your plan?

So much of life doesn’t go according to our plans.

kkuneszrsqc-sergey-svechnikovI realize getting a mani-pedi is insignificant in the scheme of life events, yet we can all be guilty of impatience when a flight is delayed or a package from Amazon doesn’t arrive on time. It seems people everywhere are impaired by impatience. I am not alone in this struggle.

I had thought I was a patient person. Wanting a second child and trying to conceive with no avail for three plus years and having every test performed with no diagnosis was intolerable and yet I endured it because I longed for another child.

Then, I was separated from my husband after he left our home for six and half years before a divorce document was signed. This was because separation and divorce was not in my plan, and I was hoping and praying for restoration of my family. It gave me the opportunity to once again exercise patience.

I have learned what patience is not also. It is not rolling your eyes when your told your appointment is not on the schedule. Nor is it raising your tone of voice at the gate agent when you learn your flight is stuck in winter weather and you won’t make it home in time for the Christmas party.

No, waiting and grumbling does not define patience. Patience is defined as waiting without complaint, so no eye-rolling allowed. As if that wasn’t hard enough the real challenge in life is when circumstances are uncomfortable and you can endure without complaint. This is what makes patience a virtue.

No, you don’t get a “Virtue” badge for waiting in stop and go traffic for hours if you have been cursing out the driver in front you or making some single fingered hand gestures at them.

So much of life requires patience.

I decided that day while I was waiting for someone to become available to do my nails that I would be grateful that I had nails that needed a manicure.

Take the challenge next time you are faced with the good fortune to be patient and note if you are really able to be virtuous.

Divorce, The Unwanted Gift

I believe in love and happily ever after. At least I did some 30 years ago as I stood at the altar in my white wedding dress waiting for my Romeo to confess his undying love for me in front our closest friends and family. It was the day every little girl dreams of, and I was no exception. To love and nurture, it was an innate calling.

Little did I know, that marriage and a wedding ceremony are two very different experiences.

I soon found out that love was going to take sacrifice. At times, blood, sweat, and many, many tears. I think we all go into marriage thinking about what we want out of it, not what we will have to put into it.

I was ill prepared for the marriage pilgrimage I was on.

My parents were married until the day they died. They were just powering through. Like being on a long, dry and dusty road in the desert, knowing that you just have to keep going in hopes of finding water.

No wonder I found myself doing the exact same thing in my marriage until, one day, my husband lovingly gave me the “I’m unhappy” talk. I thought, “yeah, me too, so what?” I was going to keep powering through, just like my parents.

It took him a few weeks and his bags were packed and he was onto his new life.

My life however was shattered. My happily ever after was now in a million tiny pieces that somehow had to be put back together.

Have you ever heard of the expression “Every cloud has a silver lining?” Well, I grew up hearing it and in this case I  applied it to the dissolution of my marriage. An event that was unwanted and again I was unprepared for, but if you lean into your circumstance, instead of denying or defying it you will allow yourself to grow.explore-girl

I am almost unrecognizable today from the girl that stood at the altar in that white wedding dress. Not just because I went from being a brunette to being a blond, and yes, blonds do have more fun, but more importantly because I have allowed my singleness to be a time to learn.

You see, I got a do over. No longer was I somebody’s wife, partner or spouse, now I was just me. Who was I?

I was captain of my own ship. I got to decide the direction I would go and where I would lead my family. What were the values that I wanted to instill in my children? Because I was essentially parenting alone, these were questions I now had to consider on my own. At times I was very overwhelmed, but it was like building muscle at the gym, the more I did it the easier it got.

This was not the time to be a loner. I enlisted the help of dear friends, coaches and mentors to help with my kids. Trying to juggle work, kids and watching my daughter participate in sports was a challenge.

Any single mom reading this knows the struggle, it’s real.

Taking time to stay physically fit killed two birds with one stone. Sure I burned some calories, but the chemicals it released in my brain to keep me stable was the real payoff. That meant I had to be at the gym at 5:00 am so I could workout, get home, shower, get ready for my day, then wake up my sleeping princess. Make breakfast and lunches, drive to school, then go to my real job.

Everyday I kept putting one foot in front of the other.

When there are overwhelming times, you have to remember to keep it simple. Keep to the task at hand, don’t let your mind get ahead of you. Have you heard it said “today has enough trouble of it’s own?” It’s true. Stay in today.

Today, I am done parenting, and every hurdle I have had to jump over alone has made me into the strong, confident, determined woman I am today and I still believe in love!