Dale’s Rules for Life – Of Patience and Knots


I have these rules for life. Some of them are learned, some overheard. This particular rule I’d label as “not there yet.” Call it an aspirational rule. An acknowledgment of a simple yet hard to implement truth. The fifth rule goes like this – Patience can untie the impossible knot.

I’m not sure if everyone is like this or not. What I see in myself regarding patience is a hodge-podge of inconstancy. I can be both patient and incredibly impatient at the same time. The difference seems to be driven by other factors. How urgent is the matter on the other side of the knot? The level of desire for something to happen? Do I have a measure of control over the situation or is it totally out of my hands? The answers mix together in weird ways to impact my level of patience. How about you?

There seem to be three areas of patience. Waiting for something. Waiting for someone. Working a problem. For me, the easiest place of patience is in working a problem. Even if the given problem takes years to untangle. The only time this isn’t true concerns strings of Christmas lights. It’s less stressful to buy a new string at the Dollar General than spend hours untangling the line and testing each bulb.

Waiting for something or for someone are also times of patience and impatience. It’s reasonably easy to wait for a scheduled day to arrive. Whether that is a long-awaited vacation day or a package coming from Amazon. The promised day is set and confirmed. The hoped-for days when things aren’t set, those try my patience.

What I’ve learned along the way is to celebrate progress. The impossible knot is loosened one string at a time. Patience is found in the realization of movement, even if the movement is counting days. But what if the day is unknown? What if all we hang on to is our hope or our pain?

The Bible says much about patience, hope, and pain. One of my favorites is, “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust(wait) in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29–31, NLT) Our patience is often a reflection of our trust in God. When all is said and done the impossible knot is not some external milestone but our own hearts. Trusting God unravels our disappointments, releases our pain, frees us from the prison of doubt, and renews our soul to walk with Him.

Patience really does untie the impossible knot.

Dale Heinold
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