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.

3 thoughts on “Patience

  1. Linda Overton

    I believed that you opened the box even before I saw the picture of the box with the lid off. I don’t know if you feel that you have reached the nirvana of non-complaint but I know that you have been truthful in this blog.

  2. Genevieve

    Perhaps a little reframing is in order sweet friend. Here is my perspective

    “I can only claim three decades of employment becuase I starated my own law firm.” How dear friend is that failing? Working for someone else, that is what most of us do becuase we are neither brave enough nor focused enough to work for ourselves. Starting your own business and running it successfully for thirty years. That sounds like a pretty huge success.

    I do hear what you are sayign though, that you were needing a win on this day, and figuring out the puzzle box gave you a win. That I do get. There are days I play mahjong on the computer becuase I know I can win and I’ll feel as though I’ve completed something.

    I would also venture to say that while the romantic definition of true love may have eluded you, you have found and in fact woven together many other forms of true love. You have built strong freindships. You have contributed to your community in so many ways and given love to your felow human through rotary, and hosting suite 100, and fundraising for rosebrooks, and the sort of work you did. You made a human who you have embued with values which made him a contributing memeber of society, and I woudl venture to say the mother-son love that is there is true love.


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