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“To be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial.”

October 29, 2013

Wendell Berry said, “To be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial.”

I often feel like the things I have brewing inside me are somewhat of emergencies, and the only way to find peace is to write or sing. So, I began to envision my path as an artist resembling Woody Allen’s: to get as much out as possible knowing that few will hit, and the rest will miss.

Not that this is inherently the wrong way to go about art, but it is for me because it comes from a place of impatience. I was afraid of the time and work required to consistently produce my best work; so I filled the void with a lot of mediocre stuff, convincing myself they were stepping stones.

I felt like I wasn’t being productive if I didn’t have anything to show for it immediately. I still have that feeling every day.

But, that’s when I have to ask myself; do I care more about the song, or having something to sing?

Instead trying to finish a project every day, I’m learning the value of waiting and struggling through the work until I really believe what I submit. It’d be selfish of me to care more about my own comfort of having words for people to read or hear, rather than caring about the people reading or hearing those words.

A house that looks better than all the other houses in the neighborhood isn’t a great place to live if it has a shotty foundation. To build a great house, it takes a carpenter who cares equally about what no one sees as what is praised. The wise man built his house upon the rock.

Watching football and listening to the commentators can teach how to react to adversity. When a team falls behind early, the commentators often preach against trying to make up the deficit all at once. “There’s no such thing as a twenty-point play,” you’ll often hear them say. If you focus on the scoreboard, you’ll focus on what is not there – and that typically spells disaster. But, the teams that are able to make a comeback are the teams that focus on one play, one yard, one first down at a time.

It takes a mile for the train to stop.

I pray patience will find us all.

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