Last week in my therapy office, the theme seemed to be Patience. Many of my clients were struggling with wanting change, wanting life to be better, wanting their suffering to stop, their relationships to be better. I too was impatient in my personal life. The flow I had felt a year ago seemed to be stagnant and I felt like a leopard at the zoo, pacing back and forth on the worn path at the edge of its cage.
I had an hour between two appointments with clients, and I rushed out to my truck to run an errand. I was in a rush, impatient with my long to-do list. As I unlocked my door, I noticed a young, disabled man in an electric wheel chair slowly making his way up the sidewalk toward the side entrance of the office building which doesn’t have stairs he would have to navigate. I nodded to him as he passed. It seemed he only had one very thin and gnarled hand which could operate a joystick control for the chair.
I ran my errand, and 25 minutes later returned and parked in the same spot. I looked over and again, noticed the same man in the wheelchair parked outside, facing the closed door of my building.
Oh my God, I thought, he’s been waiting there for a half-an-hour for someone to open the door!
I walked over and greeted him. He smiled and nodded. I said, “Have you been waiting for 30 minutes for someone to happen along and open this door for you?!” I asked.
“You must have to practice patience all the time!” I exclaimed.
“It’s ok,” he answered, “Its beautiful today. I was watching the birds in that maple tree who have a nest. They’ve been bringing food back to feed their chicks.” He craned his neck and looked up.
“I’ve never noticed them.” I said and indeed, there was a tiny nest in the tree. He just smiled at me.
“Have a nice day.” He said and rolled over the threshold of the doorway and down the hall.
I stood there a moment, looking up at the nest. In my rush to and from work, I had never stopped for even a moment to notice.
I reflected for a few moments on the gift of that little interaction. Know where you’re going, trust that life will open the necessary doors for you. Don’t bother focusing on how much you suffer, or how unfair it all is. Focus on what you can enjoy along the journey.
Beautiful. Thank you, whoever you are.