When I moved to California 20 years ago, I was appalled by the sudden increase in the amount of waiting required every day. Everything was so crowded here compared to my small Georgia town and my tiny Texas university. There was so much “hurry up and get to”…with the “getting to” involving a lot of sitting still in the middle of a not so “free”way. Oh, and the lines in the grocery store? Ludicrous. Not to mention a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Lines and lines and lines of humanity. Waiting and waiting and waiting for the next good thing. The amount of hours consumed by the “in between” was enough to give me hives and tap the dregs of my sweet Southern patience.
After all, my first 21 years were all about getting to the next big thing and all this in-betweening was a waste of time. I had things to do, dreams to achieve, mountains to climb, and no time to waste. Waiting robbed me of minutes and left me with wrinkles. Yet I couldn’t seem to avoid it.
In the last 20 years, I’ve had plenty of long waits to remember, and in all those stretches in between next big things, I’ve lived my life. In fact, I’ve begun to realize that life IS what happens “in between.”
I think maybe I started to realize that when I became a therapist, because in my profession you spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for pain to subside. Waiting for insight to arrive. Waiting for hope to dawn. Basically you surrender to the fact that life is one big long wait. And if you hate waiting, you are probably going to hate life.
Every day is waiting for tomorrow.
Every delivery room is waiting for a cry.
Every 16 year old is waiting for a license.
Every groom is waiting for his bride.
Every teacher is waiting for their summer.
Every slugger is waiting for the perfect pitch.
Every verse is waiting for a chorus.
Every heart is waiting for its home.
Waiting is not something to avoid. Waiting is a posture of life, of living in the fullness of the now. Soaking in the “what is” with wide-eyed delight as the now becomes the “what next,” effortlessly, fluidly, constantly.
And waiting isn’t merely passive acceptance; it’s also active service. Not just a waiting for, but also a waiting upon.
I was never a server or a waiter growing up. Although as a kid I thought it would be the best job ever because I would be loved by all humanity. Especially if I served them up a big hot lava cake. But unfortunately, my teen career options involved serving up music lessons rather than melting brownies, so I never got the opportunity to be a waitress. But I’ve decided it’s not too late to waitress my way through life. If life is waiting, then I must be the best waiter I can be. Spending every waiting moment looking for what is needed to spread love, mercy, grace and justice in the in between.
So, I will wait upon the Lord and seek what is required of me. I will serve those who are marginalized. I will wait on the little ones whose neurobiology is compromised. I will wait on clients who are stuck in hopeless despair. I will wait on my husband by folding his socks, and maybe, just maybe ironing a shirt. I will wait upon the Lord by offering him the best of my time and my energy and my heart.
And in so doing, the waiting that seems so empty with longing, becomes so full through service.
In the waiting upon, I find I wait for nothing. My life is so full, I just can’t wait enough.
***And if you’ve been waiting for something wonderful to happen, my dear friend Megan has started a blog and has joined our blog roll, so please click on over and enjoy a little Meg-On-Tap at http://megontap.blogspot.com/. She’s a hoot and an amazingly wise and deep thinker!***