Bentley does this quite often. He will stand by his food bowl or stand staring at me (when I am on my computer). He does not bark. He just stands there until I pay attention to him. I never get the sense that he is in a hurry or frustrated by waiting. He seems calm and quiet. I try to respond in an appropriate period of time. When we walk each day, Bentley stands again as I chat with neighbors. How I admire his patience, something I clearly need to work on.
We live in an impatient society. We do not want to wait for traffic signals; for downloads to our computers; repairs to anything that breaks or even for our own personal growth. Everything must be done quickly now so we multitask to speed things up ultimately making mistakes and creating stress.
Mothers and fathers know about patience as they teach their toddlers how to tie their shoes, put on a pair of pants, eat with a fork or get ready for school.
patience is not just about waiting but
it is about how we wait.
What we all must learn as we walk our paths is that patience is not just about waiting but it is about how we wait. Do we wait tapping our foot impatiently? Do we speak harshly? Are we calm on the outside but anxious and angry on the inside? If I learned nothing else during Bill's years of struggle (often at his expense as my exhaustion increased) it was priorities and patience. When he died, I was pretty hard on myself for all the times I was not a perfect caregiver. Those feelings still haunt me on a bad day.
You caregivers out there know what I mean. Early into his illness I waited for him calmly and compassionately, spoke tenderly with understanding and empathy as I hugged him or sat with him. I was totally present to the moment knowing it was all that mattered. As my exhaustion increased, patience and love became more challenging until one day, I knew deep in my soul that no matter how tired I was, I needed to chose to care for him with love and patience and the compassion I truly felt.That day was a turning point for me.
If you are struggling with a lack of patience, just stop, take a few breaths and just be. Do this many times a day and aim to do it with compassion and love for yourself. In order to be fully present, we must have great patience and acceptance. There is no other way to live.
As I move into whatever lies ahead with Bentley (recently diagnosed with lymphoma) I will take the lessons I learned with Bill's illness and death with me as Bentley and I walk through yet another chapter that will end with death. I will be patient, kind, compassionate and each time I am, I know Bill is with me smiling down on us.
Looking for Key Ideas on How to Have More Patience at www.CaregiverStress.com
Caregiver Confessions: When You Lose Your Temper at www.care.com