Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself.
Saint Francis de Sales
When I first read this quotation an unexpected twinge of calmness settled on me. A tension I was not even aware of floated into space. Things could be better. Everything could be better. I could be better. I could be perfect. Everyday I try to make some small steps toward that mystic goal. And every day I come short of perfection. Way short. So what?
How difficult is it to forgive myself for past failures? Very difficult if I dwell on them. But having patience with myself is different from forgiveness. I can regret that I didn't accomplish something extraordinary, or even outlandish, yesterday. But I'm too busy today to bother with regrets about yesterday. Learning to be patient with myself means that I'm not going to worry about not achieving perfection, or even accomplishing the extraordinary today.
It's a trap tying me into a knot of impatience when I have a clear goal and am pursuing it with energy and purpose. As the song says "I want what I want when I want it." On the other hand having that goal always before me and knowing that if I hold it there eventually it will be achieved if I'm willing to be patient with myself and not force the issue but take the opportunities as they come along. Small steps lead to great distances. It is more than good enough if I can wake a little bit everyday from this dream of a limited life.
There's an old saying in show business that goes "It'll be all right on the night." It means that it is imperfect in rehearsal, the lines are shaky, the character fades in and out, the story isn't clear and the relationships haven't been worked out yet, but the process is going on and even though certain things aren't right yet they will be by the time opening night comes. It's a reassuring thing to remember.
One can think of it as flying. Just as an airplane is designed to fly, an actor is designed to perform. The rehearsal process is like speeding down the runway until the actor has the machinery running correctly and he can take off and fly. I don't suggest that there is any lack of the wonderful creative work that actors can do in rehearsal. I have been privileged to be on stage when some inspired actors were filling in their canvas with imagination and amazing artistry. But the purpose of it is to get the aircraft in the air, to get the show open, to speak the words, tell the story, to enlighten and entertain.
Life is unfinished business. There is always something in the "IN" basket. I try to do what I can everyday. I try to do more than I can. But if I don't do it all I'll take St. Francis's advice and be patient with myself.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?
8 responses so far.