"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke (©julenisse/Fotolia)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tick Tock. Time flies and I get cuckoo.

In a world where there never seems to be enough time, we lost an hour “springing ahead” over the weekend. Who can afford to lose an hour? We need more hours, not fewer! Or so we think. What woman hasn’t wished for more hours in the day? Even if nothing more is accomplished, it would be nice to have those extra hours for sleep.

It seems counterintuitive, but when I start wishing for more time, it’s usually a sign that I need to slow down rather than speed up.

Saturday, my Beloved and I spent a chunk of time car shopping for safe, reliable transportation for the Teenager. At the risk of generalizing, or sounding like one of those people who lump folks into stereotypical categories, I will say that in my experience men don’t mind giving up a weekend to look at cars. Discussing features, kicking tires, test driving—it’s in my Beloved’s DNA. It was in my dad’s. It’s in my brother’s and my son’s. Not in mine. I can give it about an hour before I start to get antsy. I stray from the practical, affordable cars to the shiny and sporty, while my brain produces a video of me driving the PCH in a Mustang convertible.

By hour three on Saturday, my Beloved was knee deep in negotiations and I was checking out. I made a grocery list, thought about what to pack for a trip this week, wondered if the Teenager had been home to let out the dog, and became anxious we wouldn’t be home in time to see the alma mater’s tip off in the conference championship game. Also, low blood sugar was setting in. I wonder how many times on busy Saturdays, my Beloved has turned to me with a knowing look and lovingly (patronizingly) said, “Have you eaten today?” This is code for “Why are you do bitchy?” Ah, he knows me well.

Unless you’re in Vegas, few things move quickly when it comes to handing over big chunks of money, so there was a lot of sitting around as someone prepared paperwork. Tick tock. I was growing increasingly impatient when my Higher Power intervened: There’s enough time. Everything will get done. You won’t die if you miss the start of the basketball game. It was miraculous, I kid you not. I recalled a bit of wisdom from Caroline Myss’s Spiritual Madness—paraphrasing here: Whatever I am doing right now is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. That brought me a ton of peace just then sitting in the car dealership. Seriously. My anxiety and impatience had left the building.

I stopped fretting and began to enjoy and engage in conversation with our salesman. Jorge, it turns out, came to the U.S. from Argentina as a Baptist missionary. He pastors a Latino congregation in our community. I learned a lot about the specific challenges of immigrants and how, as hard workers—many working as many as three different jobs in order to save enough to bring their families here-- they struggle to find balance in their lives. Just like I do. (Also, I now know the names of Jorge’s wife, children and granddaughter and have seen pictures of all of them. Same with the dealer’s finance manager.)

As we left that afternoon (I got to drive the new car home!), I was awash in gratitude for having slowed down, quieted my mind and simply become present to where I was and what I was doing. I wonder how many lovely conversations and rich pieces of wisdom I’ve missed by allowing myself to succumb to impatience and distraction. The ability to be present--to my mom, my kids, my friends, my Beloved, myself, Go--is something worth making time for, even when I’ve lost an hour due to Daylight Saving Time. And it’s never more important than when I think there aren’t enough hours in the day.


  1. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Thanks for the reminder to slow down. Laura

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