Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lessons in Progress and Patience
I keep thinking that I have learned the art of patience, and then I disappoint myself (and others) with some new evidence that I have yet to master it. Our stone wall is a case in point. Would that it were done, would that the driveway were paved. Despite our best efforts, the house is full of mud and dust, which sifts in the crevasses like gloom. I think to myself, with annoyance, that the masons have been building this wall forever.
I watched them add more courses, off and on, last Friday. They neither hurried nor stalled -- they kept at it steadily, no doubt glad for a day with a relatively high temperature, aware that the days are getting shorter, affording them less time in which to complete this project. 
I observed them selecting each stone from the massive pile, just out of range in the photo above. These stones are too big for hefting, but the masons run their hands and practiced eyes over them, and there is some trial and error in the selection. The process cannot be rushed.
I would like to have Harold's return home an accomplished fact. I would like to have the hills and mountain peaks of his recovery behind us, and I would dearly like our life to go back to normal.
It will take great patience for any of that to happen. It may never happen. We may find ourselves in "a new normal." His progress too, cannot be rushed.
Not only am I impatient by nature, but I hate change, I hate the chaos of illness -- the unpredictability, the underlying fright that comes at 3 am. What's going to happen next?
The damned wall answers me. We'll do it stone by stone. There are rainy days when the masons don't come at all, and days when I see no improvement in Harold. There are days when I work from dark to dark, and cannot evaluate the wall's progress, save for what is reflected in my headlights. But there are better days, too, when I am home at midday, the sun is out, and I am astonished at all that has happened while I've been at work all week.
The wall is fast becoming an irritating monument to patience. Despite my ill temper, I am starting to feel a kinship with it, as though, in due course, it will also be something friendly and welcoming. Something solid in a world of treacherous uncertainty.    

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