It's from Stones for Schools by Greg Mortenson (sequel to Three Cups of Tea), about a man building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"In Chunda, a conservative rural village in Baltistan, it took eight years for us to convince the local mullah, an immensely cautious and pious man, to permit a single girl to attend school. Today, however, more than three hundred girls study in Chunda--and we take great pride in the fact that they do so with the full support of the very same mullah who once stood in their way. His change of heart affirms the notion that good relationships often demand titanic patience... As any wise village elder will tell you, anything truly important is worth doing very, very slowly."
Eight years?! Three hundred girls, with the mullah on board?! Very, very slowly? (I don't do much of anything that slowly.) Wow.
Good relationships are incredibly important to me. Being in a new place reminds me of that. I want them with new friends here, I want them with my old friends, I want them with my extended family, I want them with my husband and kids. Am I willing to wait? This man Greg was, and the outcome for an entire village and its girls is amazing to me.
This story made me realize that I don't really take the "eight year plan" or the "1000 cups of tea" plan when I think about good relationships. I hope for and expect GREAT BIG MOMENTS, deep and meaningful talks, laughs, tears. I feel disappointed and discouraged, like the relationship isn't going anywhere when those big moments (nearly always) fail to happen. But that's a totally warped perspective.
In reality, every bit of conversation, every sip of shared hot chocolate, every step walked together adds a layer to what can be a good relationship. Love is patient, I'm reminded. Patience is a perspective too, I think, often improved with age.
If good relationships are really important to me, then I guess I might as well demonstrate that by going about them very, very slowly. Love in action will simply be a thousand or million small moments shared with those around me.
Time for tea, kids!
I'm curious what you've learned about patience - have you experienced a relationship or event that you are so glad you worked at and waited for? How long have you been investing in time with someone? Will you inspire me?!