Thank you, my unknown friend, for posting this sign in our local library:

There was only one word missing from the poster when I saw it.  Now there are two. I paused a moment before making my choice. I already have LOVE, I am surrounded by KINDNESS and BEAUTY in friends and family.  WISHING FOR SOMETHING BETTER would be saying all that is right with my life is not enough and wishing the rightness away. MONEY, as we all know, is the root of all evil.

I was torn, then, between TIME and PATIENCE.

We all know there is never enough time to accomplish everything on our “to-do” lists.  Time is at a premium for most of the women I know.  But, I reasoned, a simple little piece of paper was not going to give me more time.

I believe there are few professions requiring as much patience as those of mother or freelance writer, and I happen to be both. Writers labor over their words, summon their courage to submit, and then we wait.  I have written about this before, as have many writers before me.  It can be weeks, months, or even years when we hear back from an editor, agent, or publisher. (my record for an acceptance was 22 months after submission, conversely, another record was an acceptance a mere 22 HOURS after submission) Not only that, but by submitting, we writers open ourselves up for appraisal, and the possibility of rejection.  And we do that over and over again. Do non-writers even understand how difficult this process can be?

In self-defense, I’ve learned to submit and forget. Submit and forget. Submit and forget.  Of course, I keep a record of where and when I submit, and I don’t really forget (click, click, click…that is the sound of me checking my e-mail.  Repeatedly)   But I don’t sit and wait, either. I work on something else, send out other pieces, and valiantly attempt to keep my e-mail checks to a minimum.

Lately, I’ve been an abject failure in that regard.  click. click. click  Surely, I’ll get an affirmative e-mail soon.  click. click. click. What about now? click. click. click. Becoming increasingly disgusted with myself, I retreat to the library for an afternoon of writing, away from home and the computer.

Where I see the sign that offers me some of what I need: patience.

Patience is a virtue I could use more of,” I told myself as I ripped off the small piece of paper.

ZIP~I felt the tiniest spark of an electric shock on my fingertips holding the paper.  I looked down at the blue piece of paper with the word “Patience” written on it in a feminine script.  A tiny spark of hope went through me. What if it were as simple as that; that a small slip of paper could deliver me of all anxiety? What if the person who had offered strangers such things as joy, hope, and something better, had also uttered a prayer while she wielded her blue marker? Could the prayer make a significant difference in someone’s life?  “Take What You Need” was the offer, and I needed patience.

“I have patience! I’m healed!” I teased my sister Angela, the children’s librarian, and then I held up the little blue piece of paper. Angela knows I struggle with impatience.

“You’re being silly,” she responded with a laugh, and I tucked the paper in my purse.

I worked at the library for a couple of hours, then headed home.  I checked my e-mail again, seeing no messages in response to several things I’ve been waiting on.  Then I remembered: PATIENCE.

I didn’t check my e-mail again. There’s always tomorrow, and it isn’t like I don’t have other things to do.

It might be a simple piece of paper, but I’ve taped it to my desk as a visual reminder.

Be patient, I remind myself. God has a plan for you, and his time might not be your time. His is the perfect plan.

Thank you, my unknown friend. Thank you for giving me patience.

“The times we find ourselves having to wait  on others may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the  Lord.” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada


  1. Jean Vaux says:

    What a wonderful idea this person had! And I loved your sharing your inner thought process interacting with it. Wouldn’t it be nice if each of us put this little list of words on our clothes every day with each person we met (including the one in the mirror first thing in the morning)?

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