How does one define patience?
To me, patience is what gets you from where you are to where you want to be, without tearing your hair out. Mostly, I’ve found, it’s about accepting where you are (wherever that may be, and however much that may differ from where you want to be), and focusing more on enjoying the process and less on getting to the finished product. It’s the journey, not the destination.
This reminds me of a quote from another favorite book, The Phantom Tollbooth:
“Many years ago, on this very spot, there was a beautiful city of fine houses and inviting spaces, and no one who lived here was ever in a hurry. The streets were full of wonderful things to see and the people would often stop to look at them.”
“Didn’t they have any place to go?” asked Milo.
“To be sure,” continued Alec; “but, as you know, the most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that. Then one day, someone discovered that if you walked as fast as possible and looked at nothing but your shoes you would arrive at your destination much more quickly. Soon everyone was doing it. They all rushed down the avenues and hurried along the boulevards seeing nothing of the wonders and beauties of their city as they went.”
Milo remembered the many times he’d done the very same thing; and as hard as he tried, there were even things on his own street that he couldn’t remember.
“No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a very strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear. Day by day the buildings grew fainter and fainter, and the streets faded away, until at last it was entirely invisible. There was nothing to see at all.”
“What did they do?” the Humbug inquired, suddenly taking an interest in things.
“Nothing at all,” continued Alec. “They went right on living here just as they’d always done, in the houses they could no longer see and on the streets which had vanished, because nobody noticed a thing. And that’s the way they have lived to this very day.”
“Hasn’t anyone told them?” asked Milo.
“It doesn’t do any good,” Alec replied, “for they can never see what they’re in too much of a hurry to look for.”
I have been exercising patience (or perhaps “learning patience”) in spades this morning, as I have been correcting threading errors while sleying the reed. Sleying the reed is always the most frustrating part of weaving for me, because it’s what lies between threading (which takes a long time) and weaving (where you actually get to see the pattern evolve). It is so close to weaving that you can taste it, but it’s not actually there.
Anyway, due to a number of threading errors that I found early on, I’m checking carefully for errors as I sley. This is slowing the whole process down considerably, but hopefully will save time later on. I’ve just had to slow down and remind myself to focus on enjoying the process of sleying the reed (there is something very Zen-like in the delicate manual work) rather than impatiently wanting to weave.
Patience is a virtue, but acquiring it is sometimes frustrating.