Temperance, patience, and quiet restraint are not virtues I possess. I’m loud, passionate, and I have a fiery temper. I tend to talk too much, too often, and too soon.
Perhaps that’s a reason I am drawn to people who embody those traits I do not. When my boyfriend took the time to tutor me with his skills in Photoshop a couple of weeks ago, it became apparent both how different and how complimentary our learning styles are. While I have had the (in)famous program on my computer for some time, I have taught myself how to use it mostly by experimenting and reading an obscure tutorial here or there on the internet. It’s not the easiest of programs to learn, particularly if you haven’t had any instruction, formal training, or guidance.
My personal learning style is a hybrid of visual and kinesthetic, which means I learn best when someone can show me how to do something and I mimic them or I learn while I am egaged in the task at hand. I am excitable and when I think I’ve discovered something new and know how something works, I often interrupt and will blurt out what I think I’ve learned. When I asked him to teach me some tricks in Photoshop, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised that my boyfriend did not get frustrated at my staccato outbursts or needing to look at the computer screen instead of him. He was more patient than I would have been while teaching someone a new skill and calmly, pleasantly reminded me that I had interrupted him and he wasn’t quite finished explaining.
He told me not to get ahead of myself. Being reminded that I don’t have to learn the whole thing at once or even that I have to master one specific thing. Everything worthwhile takes practice. Art does not happen overnight.
Just to drive this point home, I went to church this weekend and heard George Glady give a sermon originally written by Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd. It focused on relationships and used Claude Monet’s waterlilies as a focal point. Did you know that he spent five years painting 48 separate works of the same subject? Here’s the catch, though. Each painting wasn’t really about the waterlilies. It was about the air surrounding the waterlilies, the light reflected off of them, the relationships between them… and the relationship Monet had with the divine in creating these works of art. So many times we find ourselves jumping from thought to thought, task to task, person to person, belief to belief… what would happen if we, like Monet, spent time, energy, devotion on a single thought, task, person, or belief? The deepening of relationship is important, whether the relationship is with another person, the task at hand, the divine, or, in my opinion, most importantly, with ourselves.
Wouldn’t this time, concentration, and meditation on just one task, one relationship help us all to be more patient and, in the end, more thorough, productive, and happy? It’s not just about this project or that skill or sharing specific knowledge. It is about the relationship, the way it all works together. Things will fall into place if you let them.
Stay focused, don’t give up, form a relationship, and you will succeed.