The best things in life come to those who wait. Or so they say.
As a kid, I hated (and still do!) waiting for anything. It was twelve days before Christmas. My little sister Mary was celebrating her fifth birthday, I was ten. Somehow Mom and Dad must have had a little extra cash that year, or maybe they got it on sale. But for Mary’s fifth birthday present and for her Christmas present combined, they bought her the McDonald’s kitchen play set. It was red and yellow magic in a box. I couldn’t WAIT to put it together. I looked through the manual for hours before they wrapped the gift. And then I was virtually vibrating for the two days as it sat wrapped and untouched under the Christmas tree. The morning of Mary’s birthday, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. She had to open it…NOW! So at four in the morning, I drug Mary and Mom and the rest of the family out of bed to unwrap the present. Dad and Mom went back to bed with the other sisters, Mary and I sat for hours setting up our McDonald’s drive-thru window and putting detailed stickers on plastic french fry boxes and happy meal containers. We were in heaven. About 3 weeks later, the drive-thru sat untouched. It sat this way for another six months before Mom and Dad decided it had collected enough dust and needed to be given to another family. Looking back, I was more excited about Mary getting the playset that she was. But once she got it, I was SO over it.
I’m like that a lot in life. I live in the future. Makes for a frustrating go of it. Think about it. You live in today. You’ll never live in tomorrow no matter how much you try. I hate waiting.
I guess patience and waiting have never sounded fun to anyone. I remember someone once telling me to never pray for patience. They said this with a smirk. I guess the whole thought was, pray for patience, get all sorts of events and crazy circumstances in life that’ll make you have to be patient to make it through. As we all have a decent sense of survival mode, we’ll bear it long enough to learn at least part of the lesson of patience! I hate that.
The ol’ school Hebrews described patience: “To turn in a circle, to whirl, to twist, to writhe, to be in labor, to be afraid, to reel, to wait, to hope, to rage, to be strong, to dance in a circle, to bear a child/produce, to cause to bring forth, to be terrified, to be grieved.” Wow. Now THAT is a definition of patience that I can relate to. Waiting for dreams to come true, I’ve had all of those feelings and actions. I’ve been afraid, I’ve had hope, I’ve reeled in grief. So weird. Patience was nothing like I’d expected it to be. Here I was thinking of a demure flaxen-haired child and Scripture was painting the picture of a red-faced middle-aged woman gruntin’, sweatin’ and screamin’ in pain while birthing a child. Huh. I’m single and childless. But, from the hours of girl-talk, I gather pregnancy is a painful, gut-wrenching, whole body experience. You go through all the emotions of life when you’re pregnant. You’re scared (I’d drop a child on it’s head accidentally, I’m assured of it!), you’re excited, you’re emotions are all out of wack because you have this little spawn growing inside of you; you lose your sense of identity, and have to re-find it with a re-defined waistline.
If patience is really like being in labor, well then, hands down, patience might be the worst virtue ever. I think the Hebrews really had it going on in “getting” the essence of patience because the only thing I can relate to on that front is birthing a dream. Working on music or waiting for Mr. Right, or whatever the dream, pushing through to the greater heights is an intense, severely painful experience. I have to struggle through a whole rainbow of emotions when pursuing my dreams: frustration (dreams seem to never come and doors seem to never open) to excitement (that new boy I met was so cute!) to confusion (blindly forging ahead when the path is covered with a fog). And I think the worst thing about the whole deal is it takes time. When you’re having fun time slips by like sand through your fingers. But when you’re working and waiting for a dream to transpire, well, seconds tick by like the last tablespoon of honey traveling down a gallon container towards your awaiting toast: infuriatingly slow-moving. Dreams are inextricably attached to the need for patience. It’s either attain patience or go crazy in the waiting. Dreams are the stuff our lives are composed of. Waiting for them IS life’s biggest journey. And once you get them, it’s on to the working out of them…another dream in and of itself.
Can y’all tell me how you wait? What’s your trick to staying “present” in these moments of infuriating wait-time?
You are loved,