One of the greatest traits I admire in people is the ability to be patient. It’s the most active passivity that exists, and requires the ability to place trust in the future while sitting with the present.
To me, it represents a very high level of faith, one that recognizes how small we are and how great and intricate creation is. Waiting opens up a space to experience Oneness; it challenges me to see beyond my sense of autonomy and realize that this puzzle of a universe has a timeline that is beyond my comprehension.
There are lots of things I’m waiting for. I’m waiting to get answers to unanswered questions. I’m waiting to overcome my deficiencies. I’m waiting to finish school. I’m waiting for Moshiach. I’m waiting to meet the love of my life. I’m waiting for the sick to heal. I’m waiting and waiting and waiting for so many things, and sometimes the wait feels so insignificant that I jump into panicky action.
And just like that, I lose my intuition. I lose my connection to Oneness. I become disassembled.
Last night, I took a walk around the Old City walls and sat down with my notebook and pen. Midnight struck. Looking over the Mount of Olives, I asked myself these questions: What would it be like to never have to wait? Who would I be if I had all the answers?
As soon as I asked those questions, I felt so awed and small. I cried, because the feeling of brokenness that took hold of me then was the most comforting nod to my place in this world as a piece of a greater whole.
I realized that, if I never had to wait, I would never write any songs. I wouldn’t pine for anything. I would never feel the pain that brings me back to myself and to Hashem. I would never recognize my place in the grand scheme of the world. Without being forced to wait, I would never be humbled enough to admit how small I am and how little control I have. If I had all the answers, I’d lose one of the greatest human gifts: the ability to question.
The truth is, waiting brings me to trust.
And just like that, I feel loved again. I feel loved because I am forced to wait, and the very challenge of waiting brings me to truth.
Truth, Oneness and love. They’re all the same. The longer I explore them, the more I recognize how much I don’t know.
The brokenness in the world, the unanswered questions, and the constant search for meaning that reaches beyond the mundanity of my limited-dimension experience all begin to resolve themselves when I resolve to wait. Through the struggle of patience, I stretch my limited understanding of life to reach landscapes I would’ve otherwise left untouched. I learn to shift my mindset to focus on a universal picture that includes elements I may never be aware of. It’s comforting to face a reality greater than myself.
I believe that humble people know how to wait, because they know that any redemption or conclusion that can come through their own hands would pale in comparison to the redemption which only Hashem can bring to the world. They wait because they recognize goodness and know that they are just passing through this maze of life. They’re patient because they know that their understanding of what is best is limited by human bias and limitation.
There is no conclusion to this little essay because I am still waiting. There are still so many unanswered questions and so much brokenness. There must be a great end after such mysterious means. All I know is one thing: at the root of it all, there is Oneness, and where there is unity, all broken parts become whole.
May we be blessed with the ability to see ourselves and our struggles as pieces of a masterpiece.
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