Ask me if I’m patient and I’ll tell you yes every time.
Follow me around and you’ll learn; I’m not a patient person by nature.
I try to be. I know it’s the right way to be; but like most I crave instant gratification.
Getting things right now is how our culture teaches us to survive. Our surroundings and society program us to expect things quickly or we think something is wrong.
I learn to want things happening faster than they do, but it’s not always been this way.
As a photographer, I still remember when pictures must be developed and then required 5–7 days to travel across the Country.
Now pictures from across the world arrive almost instantaneously from people and places I’ve never seen before.
There is danger in this trend, however. And it takes its toll on us.
I feel it tugging at my soul when trying to sit quietly and enjoy the next minute to arrive. The ability to enjoy life slowly slips from my grasp.
I know I miss moments of clarity or opportunities of interest because I lack patience enough to let them appear in time. And I have no idea what I’ve lost because of this.
But every so often I must wait or I will lose the object of my desire. There are things we cannot hurry.
Let me tell you about just such a moment.
One morning last fall, before dawn, I drove into the darkness of the Tennessee Smokey Mountains. I knew of a specific location sure to have deer, turkey and other wildlife wandering at sunrise and I wanted get those pictures.
After parking my car and walking quietly about a half a mile through the damp air, sunlight slowly started peeking over a mountain ridge and filter through a thick morning fog that settled during the night.
As I turned toward the east, it occurred to me moments before the sun crept further over the ridge and behind a tree the resulting sunburst could be spectacular.
Should I wait and see if my intuition was correct, or should I wander on and find the “next best picture” that might appear?
I waited. 10 minutes passed until the sun peeked over the hill.
When it did, I was ready.
This photo is one of many I got that day, many amazing, including the deer at the start of this post.
I still believe had I kept going, none of the other opportunities that followed me through my day would've been available. My timing would be different and so would the course of my day along with the subjects of my pictures.
I learned a lesson that morning.
I must at least pause for consideration anytime I feel myself getting impatient.
What can I lose if I hurry on? What will I gain if I stop and wait?
I think it’s best to avoid being in so much of a hurry we miss the journey entirely. The future is still waiting for us if we make there, but the moment we live in right now is where our attention needs to remain.
When we think about what might be or dwell on what has been; we miss out on what is.
Perhaps this week is a good one to slow down a little bit.