“Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
Most people do not like to wait. In fact, if you google waiting, you’ll find that almost all answers pop up with how much we dislike having to wait, whether it’s in line for food or in a traffic jam. Waiting, to us in our high-powered, fast-paced age, can seem like an eternity.
This past six weeks I have been waiting. I think I am a patient person. I don’t need to rush and I don’t mind waiting. But waiting on my sons to tie their shoes when they were little is certainly different than the waiting I’ve been doing over the past six weeks. I am usually an Energizer Bunny kind of a person. I can keep running around for ages, just to get things done. But that hasn’t been the case for at least the past two months. I have had to slow down — WAY down.
I’ve learned that six weeks, actually, CAN seem like an eternity, especially compared to waiting six minutes in line, or six hours for a phone call. Even six days wouldn’t be that much compared to six weeks. And psychology tells us that uncertainty in the time we have to wait makes the wait seem even longer. That is the truth.
In my experience, these past weeks have been long. I had a routine minor surgery in December which turned into 4 trips to the emergency room, another surgery, and when that one didn’t work, a huge surgery. It is so strange to think that most things we like to keep in our control, but the one thing we can’t control is our health. Even more, we cannot control the timeline for healing.
I have been mostly confined to strict resting for about four of the last six weeks, waiting for healing to take place. The thing I’ve learned is that healing happens on its own time. There is no timer for restored health.
In the four years living in Czech Republic, I learned to line up at the Posta (post office), where citizens, mostly in coveralls, would cordially line up to wait to get their paychecks or to pay their bills. It was a completely different and more challenging atmosphere than a US post office, where we begin tapping our watches after a minute or so. The Czechs have learned over their sixty+ years of Communism that waiting is part of life.
I can honestly say that waiting is not really something I want to do. But through this season of questionable healing, I learned to find creative ways to embrace the wait.
Some things I have learned, On Waiting:
- Those friends who show up and wait with you through uncertain times are the truest of true friends.
- Those friends and family who disappear when the going gets rough are not.
- The things we can do while we wait are priceless.
One thing I have focused on while waiting has been to work on the book I’ve had in progress. Everyday life interrupts writing — between work during the day and my boys’ activities at night and on weekends, the writing usually gets set on the back burner. But with the time at home, waiting for healing, I decided to make the most of the time and write. I am delighted to say that the book is complete and that I’ve had ample time to edit, craft a proposal and query, and begin selectively sending them to literary agents. I am hoping and praying one connects with the story, one who believes in it enough to carry it forward through finding a publisher and through publication. That would be my life dream. So the waiting has not been all bad.
Also, so many friends — many more than who I thought cared deeply — have showed up with hot meals in hand and other fun waiting things to do in the meantime. One dear friend brought a coloring book (I loved this!), another brought books to read, many brought flowers and chocolates. All through the four intense weeks of waiting, they brought smiles and hugs and conversation. For all of these things and for the priceless friends that they are, I am forever grateful. Because of them, waiting was not drudgery.
Now that I am at the end of the waiting, I can say I am immeasurably grateful for an employer who has empowered me to work from home, sons who have done everything imaginable to help, and friends who have bridged every gap.
And waiting? Well, it can be long. It bothers us because it means ultimately that we are out of control. And we are, aren’t we? If we can rest and give up the control and trust, and find creative ways to pass the time, waiting can be a rich time to capture the things we normally don’t get to do. I know now that waiting can be a blessing.
For you: have you had to wait on something recently? How has it impacted you? Has it been for the better?