The LAST WEEK of MyBigWalk (year one)

My father used to say I was impatient. Even as s a little girl  I hated waiting for things to happen.

“If you need an answer right now,” he’d say, “then the answer is no.”

My father was a patient man. He knew things happen in their own time, that  sooner or later you have the answer to your questions and you reach the end of the journey and finish the job — even if it feels like you never will.

For two months now it’s felt as if the END of MyBigWalk Year One would NEVER COME.  It’s sort of like those Frog & Toad books I used to read to my kids when they were small. My favorite story was the one in which Toad plants a garden. Toad, you may recall, is the less wise, more impatient friend in the pair. He wants a garden as lovely as Frog’s and so he plants and waters his seeds just as he’s supposed to.

But Toad can’t stand to wait for the garden to grow.  He wants the time to hurry by. He plays music to the silent soil, he shines a light on the garden all night long, and he despairs when nothing happens.

When they were small I read that story to my children night after night hoping they’d learn patience. Patience, I knew, would make them happier people.  The fact is that I certainly raised children who are more patient than I am.  But I never fully taught that virtue to myself. It’s not that I mind doing the work it takes to get somewhere or to get something I want.  Like Frog, I don’t mind shining lights on the dark soil all night long; I’d gladly play the violin long past midnight if the serenading would make tomorrow dawn exactly as I wish it would.

But the day can’t be controlled. Some seeds will be planted and they won’t sprout. Some, as Toad fears, will be too scared to grow. But either way, you end up with a garden. That’s the moral I always tried to take away from the story.

I’m sorry to say this year of walking didn’t teach me patience. But it has been a time for me to constantly remind myself that I have to take each step in order to get from here to there. It taught me that sooner or later, you will reach the end of the road.

And then, of course, you’ll have to decide where to go next.

“Don’t rush things,” I can hear my Dad saying. “You don’t have to be deciding things all the time.  Sometimes you just have to wait to see what comes up next.”

Boy, I wish my Dad was here to tell me that in person.

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