Patience Is A (Stupid) Virtue
It’s the New Year.
Or as I like to call it “Halleluiah-It’s-Over-Pass-The-Wine.” (Except, don’t really because I’m trying to have a baby and I’m not allowed to drink.)
I’ve always liked looking back on the year and figuring out some of the best moments. In this panic-inducing year, finding the positives were easy – they stuck out like two diamonds in a field filled with muck and threats of nuclear war. One, I got my first television writing job and two, my husband and I made embryos.
If you haven’t been following along, we’re trying to get pregnant and (spoiler alert!) it hasn’t been easy.
So making embryos was a huge step for us. It didn’t happen in the traditional, can’t-talk-about-it-in-front-of-kids sense. But rather, with surgeries, labs, petri dishes, and lots of meditating, praying, finger crossing, and updating of parents.
In the end, we did it – something multiple doctors told us might be impossible. To say we were thrilled would be like saying Mother Teresa was just generous.
These last years have been so full of waiting – of putting our excitement and worry on hold and just trying to be patient. But with those little embryos waiting for us we suddenly felt so close – right on the precipice – to starting a family. Finally, after everything, we could begin.
So when the doctor called with news about the final test I’d done, I wasn’t prepared for what she said.
We had to wait. Again.
I had a small infection. Wait. Just a little longer. Wait. It wasn’t serious, but still. Wait.
It was fine. Of course it was fine. That’s what I told the doctor. It was, and I was, fine. Fine: the word every Midwesterner knows means it’s really not fine at all.
I was in my car when I got that news and after I hung up, I screamed in frustration so loudly that the man driving next to me looked over, startled. Yes, I was upset and frustrated and tired – so tired – but more than that, my patience was running thin with all the waiting. I felt like I could burst from it.
These days, I can get Korean food delivered to my door, download any movie I want, and ask Alexa if I’m wondering what time it is in Bangkok. Recently, I had groceries delivered on Thanksgiving Day – Thanksgiving! I counted it as the third biggest highlight of my year.
So when asked to wait for the thing I want most in this world, it is not only difficult but also foreign. It feels powerless, helpless, and my least favorite feeling, vulnerable.
In this day of instant-food, instant-friends, instant-gratification there is something in waiting that reminds us that we are human. That we actually can’t have everything we want all the time, the moment we want it. We send spaceships to Mars, build cars that run on electricity, and dive to the deepest depths of the ocean but with this, the oldest and most biological of things, there is no rushing it. Even with the help of doctors.
So I’m forced to sit in the unknown and trust that it’s going to be okay. Or that it isn’t. But regardless, it’s going to be.
Maybe it’s good to be reminded of that. Maybe it’s good to realize, when it really comes down to it, I don’t need to know or have everything right this moment. As a person who tries to control everything in her life and whose Google history reads like a game of Trivial Pursuit, this lesson might be an important one.
So I’ll sit in suspense, as comfortably as I can, knowing that this is how it has to be. Trying not to fight against it. Trying to let go of my timeline. I know the waiting will be worth it – no matter what happens.
In the meantime, I’ll ask Alexa to order me some Korean food.
This piece was originally written for the Fargo Forum. You can find them (and me) here.
Photo by Jason Elias.