I’m a planner. I consider every single detail when preparing for an event and do my best cover all aspects. I’ve always been the type to think several steps ahead, as I can usually anticipate what’s to come. What I’ve learned, especially over the last year, is that this only goes so far. At some point, despite all the prep work you do, there will always be factors out of your control. This has been on the forefront of my mind lately, and it got me thinking of Morgan Freeman.
Naturally, that’s the obvious thing that comes to mind. 😉
Years ago, I watched the movie Evan Almighty with Steve Carell. It was one of those movies where you can just sit back and enjoy it for its pure entertainment factor. You see, Steve Carell plays Evan Baxter, a freshman Congressman. He is visited by G-d, and is commanded to build an ark because a great flood is coming. I won’t spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it, but there is one scene where Evan’s wife, Joan, is talking with G-d, played by Morgan Freeman (now you see the connection). In this scene, Joan is very concerned with how Evan is acting and isn’t sure what to do. Part of what G-d tells her is this:
“Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think G-d gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient?”
This one line has been stuck in my head since the first time I saw this movie. Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a religious person, so I’m not necessarily looking at this from a religious aspect. What struck me about it is the fact that I get very frustrated when things don’t follow my timeline. I tend to move quickly and mark things off my to-do list as soon as possible. After all, it only goes as slowly as I do, and I don’t move slowly. The part that bugs me is when I’m in the “hurry up and wait” stage of something where I’m waiting on someone else to complete their tasks so I can move on to the next step/phase of my plan. This is when things are out of my control and ultimately slow down my momentum. Every time this happens though, that Evan Almighty quote pops into my head. It’s my constant reminder that this is not mean to irritate me, but is rather an opportunity to learn patience.
Being able to flip the situation like this has saved my sanity countless times, including now. When I look back on my life and think about all the times I was in a similar situation, I wasn’t able to see that things just have a way of working themselves out. I would spend so much time and energy worrying and focusing on what wasn’t done and what I couldn’t control that I would forget the opportunity for patience set before me. Fortunately, this is something I’m getting better at recognizing. I may still have my initial reaction, which usually includes some swearing and maybe a snack or two, but when I take that step back, the end result comes into focus and the rest of the noise fades.