“You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
And gring on for miles across weirdish wild space,
Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place . . .
. . . for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
-Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
At the moment, my family and I are “waiting around for a Yes or a No.”
In a lot of ways, life is on hold until we get that answer.
In some ways, this is immensely frustrating.
I could just be frustrated, irritated and be a huge pain to be around. Or, I could reflect on this season, find some meaning in it, and grow a bit from this time.
Call me crazy, but Option #2 sounds like the better choice!
Season of Waiting
Early on in this Waiting Game, I came to the conclusion that we’re going through a very early Advent. After all, the season of Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas) is set aside specifically to be a period of waiting. During that time, we remember how Isreal waited millenia for their Messiah.
As Christians, we use that time to reflect on waiting for the Messiah, preparing ourselves to celebrate Christmas, or the arrival of God in our midst.
My story right now, of course, isn’t anywhere close to an exact analogy. We’re just waiting for my husband’s visa, so my husband can join us on the whole Move-Across-North-America-Adventure. Once he’s here, we can then get our own house, enroll the kids in school, and really begin to jump into our new life here.
But, until here’s here, we’re just waiting.
Yet, our waiting at Advent reminds us of Isreal, waiting to receive new life from the Messiah.
While it’s a weak analogy, it does put my waiting and impatience in perspective.
(Nearly) Endless Waiting in the Liturgical Calendar
The more I think about it, aren’t we, as Christians, almost ALWAYS waiting? We start our liturgical year off with Advent, a season set aside for waiting. (Then we do celebrate Christmas.) But a few weeks later we begin Lent. While Lent is a season filled with meaning, there’s no denying that part of its significance is that it’s a period of waiting for Holy Week.
Then we spend half the year in Ordinary Time, which LITERALLY means that we’re counting down the weeks! Counting down to what?
We’re counting down to Advent starting again!
Oh, you Church Fathers who invented the liturgical calendar . . . y’all sure were funny, didn’t you? 😉
However, there is a lot to think about in the fact that in some ways or another, as Christians, we are just waiting. We’re waiting for Jesus to come back. We’re waiting for his Kingdom to come.
Refine Our Focus
Wait a minute–are we just praying “may your Kingdom come” or are we actively involved in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth?
Ahhh . . . that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?
In the immortal words of Frodo Baggins,
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We don’t like to wait. That’s pretty much a universal truth.
But sometimes we have to.
So what are we going to do with the time we have?
A few weeks into this current season of waiting, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. This whole moving adventure just wasn’t going according to my expectations. I don’t have much control over so many things that are causing me stress, and my lack of control threw me for a loop. Then, I was sitting in mass one Sunday and Fr. Polycarp smacked me up alongside the head. We’ve all heard it a million times.
But it was exactly what I needed to hear that day.
“As Christians, our job isn’t to be served, but to serve.”
There I was, beginning to sink into the sands of self-pity, and Fr. Polycarp showed me that somewhere along the line I got it all backwards. Perhaps I’m lamenting my lack of control because I’m putting myself first instead of others. I’ve been focusing on myself and not seeing all the people who are placed around me during this time. Instead of focusing inward, I should be focusing outward.
Not only would my mental state likely improve by more actively loving those around me, but I would fulfill my purpose in this given time and place.
How could I miss that?
Oh, it’s all too easy! Thank goodness I’ve got people in my path to shake me out of my pity party! *
Love the Ones You’re With
Live in the present. Focus on the here and now.
We may be waiting, but life goes on.
There might be more “real life” happening in this season of waiting, than in whatever it is we’re waiting for.
Let’s not miss it by waiting for “real life”.
*Note: my moments of self pity were just that–self-pity. I’ve been down here and there, but this is temporary, likely due to not having much control over all the huge changes going on.
If this downturn in mood wouldn’t lift within a few months, that would be a red flag for depression, which is a whole different beast than mere mood swings and pity parties. Shifting one’s perspective will not cure depression. A good counselor and therapy is a better place to start.
Just putting that out there for those who might think that I’m dismissing depression. Not at all! That’s a whole different beast, and one to be taken very seriously.
Black and White Waiting for Train photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash.
Woman Waiting photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash.
Friends photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash.
Sunrise with Suitcase photo by Mantas Hestaven on Unsplash.