If we’re being honest, I think patience has a different meaning for everyone but it affects us all.
Whether you are waiting for the delayed subway in New York City only to find it crowded, with no room to hop on when it arrives to the station, or getting stuck in meetings all day and you haven’t eaten all day so the "hangry" sets in, or when you want to go to the gym but your body begs you to rest. Or, if you’re anything like me, you lose it in all three scenarios.
I have to incorporate the practice of patience like my daily medicine for my 6 month old kidney. It’s a chore and it never comes easy. I wish it did. I wish I had the ability like my mother, like her mother to have it be a natural instinct, but it never kicked in for me. Anyone else? Am I alone here?
Illness forces us to be patient. Want to resist? The disease will set a punishment. When my husband asked my recent surgeon approximately how long the transplant surgery would be his response was short and sweet. “A surgery takes as long as it needs to take.” And there it was. Forced patience. It’s a dynamic energy, quietly reminding us it exists.
I think when it comes to it, patience relies on strength and strength relies on patience. As kidney transplant recipients, we have it. Even though we don’t always feel it, it’s there. We know our bodies better than any doctor, than any nurse and better than family member or friend. Ask any one of us who’s had their blood drawn multiple times a week for years. We know exactly which vein will bruise us and which vein looks strong but is actually a poser. And we all have at least one story where someone didn’t listen and fished around in that tricky vein in hopes it would work. It didn’t, we knew it all along. That’s strength. Strength in knowing ourselves.
And it isn’t just us, the one with the illness who develops patience. We force those close to us to develop the virtue. It’s part of the package deal. When we’re suffering, they do too. Think about all the times they have held our hands while we slept in the hospital bed, the monitors humming us to sleep. Or holding us as we walk, gaining back our endurance. They need it too, the strength and patience. They need it as much as we do and we rely on each other more than we realize.
Ever lose your patience with yourself because all the small things have piled onto each other and its weighing you down? It happens, more likely than I’d like to admit, but we are human. We break down. All of us. The strength that holds on to patience is what has us rise back to our feet. Sometimes patience isn’t waiting. Sometimes patience is inhaling deeply and sighing it all out when you’re overwhelmed. Sometimes patience is leaning against the couch pillow and sipping tea instead of going out to dinner. Have patience with all things, but most of all with yourself.
Two time kidney transplant recipient and all around inspiring kidney warrior.
Read her kidney story here.
Location: New York, NY