People keep telling me that what I want and need will appear. soon. Patience, they counsel. It will happen. Most of these kind well-intentioned souls already have those provisions which I lack: A job, true love, good health, published works of authorship. Me, I’ve stretched for each of those accomplishments and failed at most of them. I can only claim three decades of employment because I started my own law firm.
This afternoon, I left off fretting about the state of the country to fiddle with a Japanese puzzle box. A client, Hidemi Matsuzaki, gave two of these to me years ago. I had seen her open one of them but not for a long time. I put the boxes away during an attempt to purge clutter in 2011, and found them when I packed for my move to California. One of them sits on the bookshelf in my writing loft.
I couldn’t remember much about Hidemi’s instructions. In her melodic voice she cautioned, “Be patient.” I knew that each key to unlocking the puzzle had to be moved in tiny increments, gently, with respect for the integrity of the whole.
It took me thirty minutes.
When I had eased the lid from the box, I sat gazing at the empty inner compartment. I felt as much satisfaction as though I’d found what I so desperately seek inside the pretty wooden vessel. I sat for a few minutes, the box in my hands, staring out my window. Then I closed the box, which I discovered takes as much patience as gaining entry.
I set it back on the shelf, and went downstairs to make a cup of tea.
It’s the seventeenth day of the fifty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.