Six minutes can feel like a lifetime.
Watching the subtle changes.
Knowing my family is waiting for me.
Feeling the stillness of the neighborhood settling in.
Captivated by the magnificence in the sky.
If you follow my Instagram stories (@kaceymhart), you probably know I have a minor obsession taking pictures of sunsets. Each night as the sun disappears into the horizon, the Arizona skies treat us to a magical display.
Most days I’m in my car, either driving home from work or taking one of the kids to practice. If they are with me, I demand their attention away from their phone to look at the amazing sunset. I ask them what colors stand out the most and make them describe it as I steal glances while I drive. By now, they’re used to my questions, so they humor me with an answer before looking back at their phone.
One thing I find so amazing is the degree in which the colors change. You think you have seen the “most beautiful” part only to look two minutes later and the colors are richer, deeper and more amazing.
Rarely do I have the time or the patience to sit there and watch the light totally fade away. I snap a picture capturing one moment and then get back to what I’m supposed to be doing.
If I’m being totally honest, maybe I’m a bit impatient. There are so many other things to do, nagging me for my attention, that stopping everything, to watch the sunset seems indulgent.
Is it any surprise the topic of patience has been on my mind over the last few weeks? I wanted to write this and post last week, but I had little free time and the time I did have was not enough. It seemed ironic to rush through writing a blog on patience…..
I should be more specific. I’ve actually been thinking more about my impatience, more so than my ability to be patient.
Things I am impatient about:
In these impatient moments, I feel stressed out because in my mind I’m already on to the next thing. The slow driver stands between me being on time or being late. Our busy schedule is a constant reminder of where we must be next. And at this point the chores, homework and shopping seem to be obstacles standing between us and vacation. It’s frustrating, discouraging and exhausting.
In the past, I thought the answer was to “pack my patience”. If I packed it up, it would be there when I needed it, right? I would be better prepared when these situations came up. However, packing the little amount of patience I had never lasted me very long and I was right back where I started.
Over these last few weeks, I came to a new understanding of impatience. Simply, impatience is wishing your current situation was different. Said in a different way, patience is accepting and appreciating the moment exactly as it is.
Behind a slow driver? Take a deep breath, turn up the radio and get to your destination safely. Feeling the stress of all that must be done? Check off each item one at a time knowing everything will be taken care of.
When you feel the impatience creeping in, ask yourself, what is bothering me right now? Can I change it, or can I accept it?
So, you may be wondering, what does any of this have to do with sunsets? On very rare occasions, instead of snapping a picture and moving on, I stay and watch for a while. As I described at the beginning, last night was one of those rare nights. To stand there takes patience, because it doesn’t appear that a lot is going on, but just when you think the colors are the most beautiful they could ever be, they shift ever so slightly and go to an entirely new level. The pictures above were each taken two minutes apart. If I had been impatient and taken only one picture, look at the richness I would have missed. The present moment is always beautiful if you have the patience to truly see it.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.