Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Joy of Waiting

I have been doing the math- we spend half our life sleeping and 90% of our wakeful day waiting. The rest is spent preparing to sleep or to wait. I always bring a suitcase of activities when we head off to the doctor's office, or the oil change....or the long red lights, or the grocery lines. We hurry and scurry like chickens with their heads cut off, only to rush to another interminable session of waiting. (BTW-this particular image if you think about it is a strange one but it is true. Chickens do flop around sometimes for several minutes when their heads are cut off "improperly". Several internet sites informed me of this so it must be true. Of course the natural question is how can a head ever be "properly" cut off? In my opinion, there is never a proper beheading. And notice that while I was educating you about headless chickens, what were you doing? WAITING for me to get back to my main point. Which is the main point.... we wait and wait and wait.)
And we lie about the impending wait.

"The doctor will be here in just a minute," assured the nurse after oohing and ahing over Asherel's sting ray welts.
Asherel and I, long practiced in the art of waiting, gave each other a knowing smirk, and pulled out our iPods. I drew the picture of her waiting which is in the post today. Thirty "Just a minute" later, the doctor appeared. And you all know of course what she said:
"Sorry for the wait."
She may as well say, "Sorry for life."
I think the strategy that we all need to adopt for a calmer, kinder, and happier world is that waiting is a good thing. It is your lucky day, because I am going to give you some pointers.

During red lights, practice kegel exercises. I am not going to go into detail about what they are. Look it up. When you are 50, 3 babies later, you will be glad you used your red light waiting time to practice kegels.

When waiting in grocery lines, practice random acts of compassion. If a mother with a screaming baby is behind you in line, let her cut in front. Wait longer, and spend that extra down time patting yourself on the back.

When waiting for scary things like operations or your first day teaching Algebra 2, memorize Bible verses. They have an uncanny ability to ease a pounding heart.

Here is the amazing revelation.....
waiting is not an accident. If God created everything, and you know He did, then He created waiting. I use the time for character development. The inevitable response to unexpected and long waits is anger, frustration, frowny faces. I am practicing smiling when I hear those words, "Sorry for the wait." Right now, the best I can usually muster is a grimace, but if I just wait long enough.... I am sure eventually I will train those happy muscles to fire away.

And this is the most important thing about waiting. If God Himself wasn't busy waiting, none of us would have access to him. He waits for each of us to notice Him, to long for Him, and then finally to reach out for Him. I, for one, am glad He has settled down for a long wait. When I wait with eager expectation, I am becoming like Him, and what better use of my time is there?

Psalm 5:2-4 (New International Version)

2 Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.

3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Psalm 27:14 (New International Version)

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

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