Survival guides describe a horrifying scenario in which a car you are driving runs off the road and lands in a body of water. The electric windows have shorted out and no longer function. As the car sinks further into the water, the pressure of the water outside makes it impossible to push the doors open. You are trapped with a limited supply of oxygen as you watch the water rise higher and higher outside the car. Claustrophobia sets in and you begin to panic. You have to do something quickly to survive!
What you learn from these survival guides is that you have one technique available to you; you have to wait until the car fills fully with water so that the pressure of the water inside the doors equals the pressure of the water outside the doors. They will then open. Can you imagine the patience that this would require? To wait there quietly as death approaches. To prepare yourself. To take a deep breath. To wait there for just the right moment to act.
Fulton Sheen once said that “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing’ it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” How seldom we recognize this principle. We expect immediate results. We demand, not only of ourselves, but of others, immediate action. When something is broken, fix it now!
But, not everything can be fixed so quickly. Why is that? As in the case of the sinking car, some things are beyond our control. We cannot control the laws of physics; it is only when sufficient time has passed that the pressure on both sides of the car door stabilizes and permits it to open. An easy enough principle, yet one so often forgotten in our daily lives.
My last post, “Freedom”, highlighted the importance of redefining our lives, of determining anew “what we have to lose”. At the top of my list of things important in my life is having a supportive relationship with my sons. God knows the issues that I have encountered in raising them on my own since my wife’s death! Sometimes I wonder if such a relationship is possible. As hard as I have tried quickly to fix the offending issues, the fix seems simply beyond my control. But, I believe that the end game is worth the effort. So, I will not admit defeat; I will “wait on the right time to act, for the right principles, and in the right way.” I will have patience, for patience is power!
When was the last time that patience provided power in your life?
To learn other important tips on household survival, see my book, The Freshly Single Man.