Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Waiting


By the time the minute hand of the clock in the doctor’s office waiting room completed its full circle, marking an hour of wait time, my bag of tricks to keep the toddler entertained was empty right along with my patience. We had both come undone from the waiting. Each time the door opened and a nurse emerged, hope sprung up that our last name would finally be called. Time and time again, it was another patient who quickly gathered his belongs and rose from his chair, leaving us to more waiting. At one point the nurse came out and looked straight at me, “I see you have been waiting a long time, honey. Thank you for your patience.  I promise, it will be worth the wait.” Nodding in reply, I sat calmly and crossed legged in the burgundy -upholstered chair. As I watched my son sprawled out on the floor wailing in frustration, the only words of consolation that I could muster were, “Me too, buddy. Me too.”

I empathize with my son’s undoing in the waiting room because I find myself on the same cold, tile floor, sprawled out and wailing, in sadness, in pain and yes, in frustration. Waiting for my name to be called feels a lot like standing in the one section of the river that is stagnant, while water rushes around me on all sides, with clear motion and direction. I can’t seem to wiggle my toes free from the sand that holds me in place, prohibiting me from floating along with the rest of the world. I watch others float quickly by, so busy with lives filled to the brim with activities and events, little plans and big dreams. My eyes follow their carefree lives, and then drop down to my own two feet, still stuck in the sand of waiting. 

My old self would roll up her sleeves and get to work, believing, “There must be something I can do to join the others, to release my feet from waiting’s enslavement.”  She would read books about breaking free from waiting. She would form a small group of others with a similar need for freedom, finding power in numbers. She would make an organized list and a detailed plan outlining the most efficient escape method. If all else failed, she would “good mother,” “good friend,” “good wife” herself free from the waiting.  And in no time at all, she too would float along with the busy current of the river, quickly forgetting the pain of the waiting and momentarily numbed by the motion of all the doing. 

But today I see my old self, and though her calendar was full and her to-do list long, her feet were still covered in sand. All of her activities formed shackles around her ankles. She thought that she was moving quickly, but I see now that she was merely treading water. I notice that all of the faces that seemed to be floating by her, full of motion and full of life, shared a similar grimace born from carrying doing’s heavy load.  Maybe it is because doing is just slavery wearing a more subtle and common mask.

So today, I surrender to the waiting, and I dig my heels deeper into the sand. In the middle of these stagnant waters, I trade the lists for the love, the doing for the resting and the handling for the healing. Perhaps it is here in the waiting room, here deep in the sand, that restless bodies become stirring souls and doers who float become saints who soar. It is here in the still of this waiting that I hear the sound of my name and a familiar voice who calls out, “I see you have been waiting a long time, Beloved.  Thank you for your patience. Trust Me and I promise that what I have in store for you will be worth the wait.”