Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient, we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later, and somewhere else. Let’s be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen
In Dan Millman’s book – “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” the main character (the author) is working at a Service Station … for a guy – ‘Socrates’. At one point, after a bit of training, Socrates asks Dan to go out back and sit on the big rock … and not get up till he has something worthwhile to tell him. Well, he tries a couple times (and offers something) … but Socrates would just look at him and say … “Back on the rock.”
So (after at least two days) he’s sitting on his rock … and he sees some young people walking together across the street … and it comes to him. He finds Socrates and tells him – “There are no special moments.”
He let him off the rock for that.
It’s easy for us (isn’t it?) not to be committed to living our lives fully … when we believe that not all ‘time’ is alike? If I think that the moment I’m IN right now is (somehow) less important than OTHER (perhaps future) moments, then it’s easy for me not to bother much with THIS one. Mmm ?
“When one is young one doesn’t feel a part of it yet, the human condition. One does things because they are not for good, everything is a rehearsal … to be put right when the curtain goes up in earnest. One day you know that the curtain was up all the time. That was the performance.”
– Sybille Bedford
How do we live our days? As though the Curtain is Up? As though there are No Special Moments?
Are we committed to the (gift of the) Day … with a level of enthusiasm and creativity (actually) commensurate with the magnitude of the Gift?
It seems to me like this. It’s not a terrible thing – I mean it may be terrible, but it’s not damaging, it’s not poisoning to do without something one wants. . . . What’s terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don’t need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you’re capable of better.
– Doris Lessing
Once a young man bought a bus ticket from Lima, Ohio to Chicago. It was winter and everything was snow-covered; the road too was covered with hard-packed snow. Somewhere in the middle (in some little town in Indiana probably) the bus stopped at a cafe. He left his bags and coat on the bus and went into the restaurant. The driver announced how long the stop would be … “15 minutes”. Rather near the end of the break he went to the restroom. When he came out, the other passengers and the bus were gone.
He went outside. He could see the bus, heading westward, perhaps a quarter mile down the empty tree-lined road. There was no reason for him to believe he would be able to catch the bus, but he ran after it anyway. He ran hard; but apparently no one on the bus saw him.
But presently a woman driving a station wagon pulled alongside him. She was offering him a ride. He got into her car; and they overtook the bus. It stopped and he got back on.
I happen to know this story is true … because I was there.
It was me, actually.
And now …
I have come to my Main Story –
In September of 2017 the little church choir I sing in flew (from Portland) to eastern (French) Canada … to sing for a few days … in Montreal and Quebec City.
(I am by now persuaded – that if you’re going to travel somewhere … you might as well sing when you get there.)
Anyway, it was enroute to Canada that we were in an airport … and had time to have some lunch. As you probably know, there are often numerous cafes and restaurants in a big airport. And it was in one of these that I encountered a most extraordinary woman … a waitress in an airport cafe/restaurant.
And to me she is a true Hero.
She was doing a job that had very little glamour or status … but it was the way she did it. She simply did her work with absolute and total commitment. She was not “waiting” for (some future ‘great’ job … a high-paying job) No. She did THIS one (Every Day, I’m sure) perfectly … holding nothing back.
She bestowed herself on everyone she came in contact with … with every customer she saw.
There was nothing awkward or uncomfortable about how she acted. It was perfectly clean … and natural.
You could say – that she was completely professional … but I think that would be a belittlement of what she had achieved and was doing … every day!
She was absolutely inspiring!
What she had achieved (and was living) … well … it’s very rare.
One may see such a level of attainment … only occasionally … in great spiritual leaders … truly enlightened souls. Such ones.
Perhaps I saw it one day when I was in the Navy … in Admiral Zumwalt (who was, at that time the Chief of Naval Operations … the head of the whole Navy). I happened to hear him speak to a gathering of troops in New London, Connecticut (where I happened to be attending a Radiological Control Monitor school).
He stood on that stage … in his dress blues … his feet apart … never moved or fidgeted … hands in his coat pockets … removing a hand only to call on some sailor who wanted to ask a question. (and a couple times he instructed a secretary to look into a certain matter so that he could follow up on it.)
I was terribly impressed with him.
I suspect that his commitment (to his job … every day) was also total and complete; but he was, after all, the Chief of Naval Operations; whereas – the airport waitress was in a job with low (near-zero) glamour or status … nor was it high-paying! Yet she bestowed herself on every person she came in contact with … like there was NO TOMORROW ! She was ALL IN !
WHAT A GREAT SOUL !
(I did talk with her – about what she was doing … and how rare and great it was. But I think I was remiss in not getting her contact information … if she had been willing to give it to me)
She ‘goes before me’ as a shining (and perfect) example of what is possible for ANY of us … (myself, of course, included.)
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do,
or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
power and magic in it.
[from paper 100 of The Urantia Book] –
100:7.1 (1101.5) Although the average mortal of Urantia cannot hope to attain the high perfection of character which Jesus of Nazareth acquired while sojourning in the flesh, it is altogether possible for every mortal believer to develop a strong and unified personality along the perfected lines of the Jesus personality. The unique feature of the Master’s personality was not so much its perfection as its symmetry, its exquisite and balanced unification. The most effective presentation of Jesus consists in following the example of the one who said, as he gestured toward the Master standing before his accusers, “Behold the man!”
100:7.2 (1101.6) The unfailing kindness of Jesus touched the hearts of men, but his stalwart strength of character amazed his followers. He was truly sincere; there was nothing of the hypocrite in him. He was free from affectation; he was always so refreshingly genuine. He never stooped to pretense, and he never resorted to shamming. He lived the truth, even as he taught it. He was the truth. He was constrained to proclaim saving truth to his generation, even though such sincerity sometimes caused pain. He was unquestioningly loyal to all truth.
100:7.3 (1101.7) But the Master was so reasonable, so approachable. He was so practical in all his ministry, while all his plans were characterized by such sanctified common sense. He was so free from all freakish, erratic, and eccentric tendencies. He was never capricious, whimsical, or hysterical. In all his teaching and in everything he did there was always an exquisite discrimination associated with an extraordinary sense of propriety.
100:7.4 (1102.1) The Son of Man was always a well-poised personality. Even his enemies maintained a wholesome respect for him; they even feared his presence. Jesus was unafraid. He was surcharged with divine enthusiasm, but he never became fanatical. He was emotionally active but never flighty. He was imaginative but always practical. He frankly faced the realities of life, but he was never dull or prosaic. He was courageous but never reckless; prudent but never cowardly. He was sympathetic but not sentimental; unique but not eccentric. He was pious but not sanctimonious. And he was so well-poised because he was so perfectly unified.
100:7.5 (1102.2) Jesus’ originality was unstifled. He was not bound by tradition or handicapped by enslavement to narrow conventionality. He spoke with undoubted confidence and taught with absolute authority. But his superb originality did not cause him to overlook the gems of truth in the teachings of his predecessors and contemporaries. And the most original of his teachings was the emphasis of love and mercy in the place of fear and sacrifice.
100:7.6 (1102.3) Jesus was very broad in his outlook. He exhorted his followers to preach the gospel to all peoples. He was free from all narrow-mindedness. His sympathetic heart embraced all mankind, even a universe. Always his invitation was, “Whosoever will, let him come.”
100:7.7 (1102.4) Of Jesus it was truly said, “He trusted God.” As a man among men he most sublimely trusted the Father in heaven. He trusted his Father as a little child trusts his earthly parent. His faith was perfect but never presumptuous. No matter how cruel nature might appear to be or how indifferent to man’s welfare on earth, Jesus never faltered in his faith. He was immune to disappointment and impervious to persecution. He was untouched by apparent failure.
100:7.8 (1102.5) He loved men as brothers, at the same time recognizing how they differed in innate endowments and acquired qualities. “He went about doing good.”
100:7.9 (1102.6) Jesus was an unusually cheerful person, but he was not a blind and unreasoning optimist. His constant word of exhortation was, “Be of good cheer.” He could maintain this confident attitude because of his unswerving trust in God and his unshakable confidence in man. He was always touchingly considerate of all men because he loved them and believed in them. Still he was always true to his convictions and magnificently firm in his devotion to the doing of his Father’s will.
100:7.10 (1102.7) The Master was always generous. He never grew weary of saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Said he, “Freely you have received, freely give.” And yet, with all of his unbounded generosity, he was never wasteful or extravagant. He taught that you must believe to receive salvation. “For every one who seeks shall receive.”
100:7.11 (1102.8) He was candid, but always kind. Said he, “If it were not so, I would have told you.” He was frank, but always friendly. He was outspoken in his love for the sinner and in his hatred for sin. But throughout all this amazing frankness he was unerringly fair.
100:7.12 (1102.9) Jesus was consistently cheerful, notwithstanding he sometimes drank deeply of the cup of human sorrow. He fearlessly faced the realities of existence, yet was he filled with enthusiasm for the gospel of the kingdom. But he controlled his enthusiasm; it never controlled him. He was unreservedly dedicated to “the Father’s business.” This divine enthusiasm led his unspiritual brethren to think he was beside himself, but the onlooking universe appraised him as the model of sanity and the pattern of supreme mortal devotion to the high standards of spiritual living. And his controlled enthusiasm was contagious; his associates were constrained to share his divine optimism.
100:7.13 (1103.1) This man of Galilee was not a man of sorrows; he was a soul of gladness. Always was he saying, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.”But when duty required, he was willing to walk courageously through the “valley of the shadow of death.” He was gladsome but at the same time humble.
100:7.14 (1103.2) His courage was equaled only by his patience. When pressed to act prematurely, he would only reply, “My hour has not yet come.” He was never in a hurry; his composure was sublime. But he was often indignant at evil, intolerant of sin. He was often mightily moved to resist that which was inimical to the welfare of his children on earth. But his indignation against sin never led to anger at the sinner.
100:7.15 (1103.3) His courage was magnificent, but he was never foolhardy. His watchword was, “Fear not.” His bravery was lofty and his courage often heroic. But his courage was linked with discretion and controlled by reason. It was courage born of faith, not the recklessness of blind presumption. He was truly brave but never audacious.
100:7.16 (1103.4) The Master was a pattern of reverence. The prayer of even his youth began, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name.”He was even respectful of the faulty worship of his fellows. But this did not deter him from making attacks on religious traditions or assaulting errors of human belief. He was reverential of true holiness, and yet he could justly appeal to his fellows, saying, “Who among you convicts me of sin?”
100:7.17 (1103.5) Jesus was great because he was good, and yet he fraternized with the little children. He was gentle and unassuming in his personal life, and yet he was the perfected man of a universe. His associates called him Master unbidden.
100:7.18 (1103.6) Jesus was the perfectly unified human personality. And today, as in Galilee, he continues to unify mortal experience and to co-ordinate human endeavors. He unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: “If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new.”
100:7.19 (1103.7) [Presented by a Melchizedek of Nebadon.]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_GmrfIKbDg (David Belle – Still Alive [parkour])