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A Note from Jo on Patience

by Joanna Gaines
Published on February 10, 2023

Worth the Weight

We're all waiting for something. Every day, every hour, every minute. For the light to turn green, for the day to end, for the call with news that the job is ours (or isn’t). We wait for negative tests. We wait for positive tests. We wait out hard seasons. We wait in lines. We wait for answers, for clarity, for those great wheels of change to inch forward. And while we wait, we measure—what we have to gain, but also, what we have to lose.

I’ve always been a natural overthinker, but I thrive on certain terms. I’ll plot out in my head all the ways something could go right, and just as quickly, all the ways it could go wrong—spinning out theories and filling in blanks for a faint glimpse of the future picture.

If you had asked me 20 years ago, maybe even 10 years ago, why I process this way, I would have said I’m just the planning type. But recently, I’ve seen it for what it really is: I don’t like to wait.

I like to move. Questions and problems unsolved, endings held in suspension—all of them make me anxious. I feel it in parenting, in our work, and in the unpredictable life cycle of my garden. I prefer to get places fast, whether it’s the physical drive into town or understanding a complex issue. Even in my own healing and growth I tend to rush.

In years past, asking me to wait has felt like asking me to give up or give in, to let the natural rhythm of the world find my way for me. I’ve believed that pause invites uncertainty, and in that void of unresolve, I’d begin feeling tempted to pick up speed to avoid falling behind.

So I’d rush through waiting. I’d say I’d be patient, then I would busy myself to death, picking up new things—a chore, a project, my phone—just to fill the empty space left in my arms. I’d fake wait. And every time the waiting was over and I was on the other side, I found I was still holding the same weight I started with: stress, worry, spun-out theories.

Instead of letting that time between teach and shape me, I pushed and shoved the sand through the hourglass, forgetting that so much gets worked out during the journey. Isn’t that where the endless choices exist? I’m learning that we can have all sorts of endings, but we also arrive there as a different version of ourselves based on how we hold the middle.

Call it waiting well; call it patience. For me, when I’m simply present for the in-between, that’s when clarity comes into focus, when growth digs its roots. It’s not a passive kind of pause but an active awareness of the weight it carries.

The slow tick of patience isn’t easy in a fast-paced world. Success, we’re shown, is earned on adrenaline. It’s momentum we can’t afford to lose for a shot at getting our ending. Maybe you’ve felt this way. If you could just get the answers you need, then you wouldn’t feel so behind. If you could just get a couple of things sorted out, you could catch up to the life you pictured.

But already, I can sense a connection between slow and steady, and one between anxiety and rushed endings. The latter is punctuated by momentum and adrenaline, the former

permitted by gratitude and patience and trust.

The truth we all know is that time presses on without any push from us. So I want to be grateful for chances to catch my breath. For stretches of space to simply behold where life has me right now. Because I’m finally beginning to see that endings don’t shape our story. That’s earned in the middle, in that sacred space of becoming.

Going forward, I want to let it teach and shape me—so that when I do find myself on the other side I can look back to say, "I held that well."