Waiting

I think we might find that by the time we are septuagenarians we will have spent an accumulated four to five of our years waiting or more. That thought staggered me, and so when I wait now (and I am a septuagenarian) I say to myself, you are alive now. Watch. Breathe deeply. This is prime time.

Phrases Posted on Facebook, November 2016

I’ve spent several days intuitively waiting for a subject to come to mind to mull over this November. Nada. Siltch! It dawns on me now that waiting must be my subject since I’m doing it. Send good thoughts please. I don’t know if I can sustain this subject a whole month. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.
The first thought I had about waiting was this: maybe some of the drudgery in waiting could be alleviated by training ourselves to think: What An Interesting Time this is?
Sometimes it seems that we live in suspension, our focus being on all the things we are waiting for: the paycheck, the holiday, the return of a loved one, etc. When we live like that, it’s like a dot-to-dot picture that hasn’t been filled. Fully living between the dots fills the picture. We see the outline of what we’re really about.
So often we are ahead of ourselves instead of with ourselves. To wait for our souls and bodies to catch up with our speedy minds is to practice wholeness. Those few wait-and-catch-up minutes sprinkled throughout our days work wonders.
There may be times when we are called from within to do something or to cease doing it. We may have a diffuse sense that a decision is forming inside us. To wait for the time to be right, for certainty to come clear, is not a waste of time but a trust that time is on our side.
We turn to tablets and smart phones when we have to wait at the airport, the doctor’s office or anywhere else, choosing virtual reality over the reality we happen to be in. There is such a thing as creative waiting. It’s a time to open some inner doors and hang out with what we find there both junk and treasure.
When we desire something deeply – feeling it, doing what we can about it opening to receive it – we can state our wish simply and boldly. After that it is time to stop ruminating about it. Instead we wait without agitation. Fussing stops the flow.
How often we say, ”I just can’t wait until such and such”. To ask ourselves what we are waiting for some time in the future tells us we are not present right now. Why not wait upon (as in serve) the now? The future comes soon enough. Let’s not waste a moment.
I love the title of the radio show on NPR called WAIT, WAIT DON’T TELL ME because it reminds me to wait for others to have answers that are often better than mine.
We’ve all been in a hurry up only to wait mode, pushed to be ready far in advance of deadlines or circumstances we have no control over. It makes us grumpy at the very leas when waiting can be leisurely and timely. It can be the pause that refreshes, even a sense of having been given time.
I had a friend of the old school who fell in love with a married woman. He was very honorable and very smitten, so he told his ladylove that he would wait for her however long it would take for her to be free. He said he would not have any contact with her in the meantime. He waited two and a half years. I heard him say it was the very best thing he ever did.
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent, the waiting season in the liturgical year, waiting for the birth of Jesus. Psychologically speaking there are advent seasons when we await new life in the midst of a wintery time. Such inner pregnancies need patience and trust. We can’t really do anything, but we can wait with awareness and tenderness towards the tiny movements that herald new life.
If anything, this month of mulling the subject of waiting has brought me again to realize that waiting is creative when fully embraced and at times even an active form of prayer. Could waiting on each other be a radical way towards changing things for the better in this time of national conflict?