Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wait to Gain

“You must pass through the circumference of time before arriving at the centre of opportunity.”

~Balthasar Gracian, Aphorism #55.

Denzel Washington actually said something very similar: “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.” Both quotations allude to the nature of virtuous patience to wait in the preparation phases of everything. Life is always requiring us to prepare well to live it well.

And, of course, the Old Testament sage, Qoheleth, also intimated the same thing: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 [NIV]).

Perhaps it’s only for us to reason on this after our events have come to pass. Better still it is to carry forward the philosophy to “wait patiently” into our ensuing endeavours.


Life says, “Wait!”

Much as it pains,

Accepting this state,

Is about holding the reins.

Asked to hold,

To treasure the sun,

God’s to mould,

Til life’s all done.

Brace the time,

Free to muse,

This journey’s a rhyme,

Don’t rush or abuse.

The years they travel,

Beyond scattered awares,

Despite thumping our gavel,

Insisting upon glares.

It’s no good,

Getting bitter and twisted,

Instead we could,

Have patience enlisted.

Strong as ever,

Trident to stow,

Expectations are never,

Patience’s our glow.


The wisdom of life dictates that we have little to gain and plenty to lose when we insist on our plans coming about ‘now’. We usually never know when our time has come, i.e. for the opportunity, but we never give up hope.

So, patience and hope are at a fine tension here—to hope is good and necessary, but patience sits on the other side to call us to wait with hopefulness.

Keeping Ourselves at ‘Externalities’

Shelving part of our hopes—those parts that are contingent on our timing—is a great benefit personally. In this way we’re somewhat separated or removed from the hope, and we’re therefore not that pained when things don’t go well. Our expectations are reset.

With this modus operandi we are easily able to view our circumstances as if we were another person; a person we love, but someone also whose true best interests are ours at heart. (How often are our truest best interests served by ourselves? This question is answered by how emotional we become when things don’t turn out for us the way we wanted them to. This is why trusted friends are good; they tell it like it is at appropriate times.)

Patience for the Entire Journey

We live long or we live short, depending upon our point-of-view. According to patience, however, we live long and we are best placed to venture through the journey of life more like the tortoise than the hare.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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