I read this sentence today and needed to pause to think about it for a little while.
“There is more happening while we wait than just waiting.”
The author was talking about how frustrating it is to wait. How weary we get, how cranky and frustrated and wishing it would be over – so we can get to where we’re going, “go back to normal”, start something new, end something old…
…but the waiting has so much in it.
It reminded me of a section of the Dr Seuss book, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”. And there’s a whole section in there about how waiting kicks in when you’re just getting going:
“You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true…You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?How much can you lose? How much can you win? And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles cross 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 the waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the 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.”
I’ve felt a lot of heaviness this week – so many people I know personally who are grieving the loss of a father, a child, a brother, a family member, a friend… so many losses, so much death. And part of grief is waiting. Waiting for the pain to pass or the hope to come or the questions to be answered or the peace to return.
And it helps me, a little, and I hope it helps you and others to remember that waiting FOR something is not the whole story. The waiting is the story, too.
There’s growth. And figuring things out. And grief. And figuring yourself out. And listening. And working through all the emotions.
There’s love. And people you care about. And remembering to take the pictures because you’ll be glad later you did. And maybe even some laughter.
There’s quiet. Maybe we don’t like it much, and we wish the noise back, but it’s a healing quiet. And rest, and sleep, and thinking.
There’s work. Figuring out what is going well and what isn’t. What systems need created or people need hired or emails sent (or not). There’s gratefulness for work helping you to get your mind off the waiting, and there’s realising it’s become a distraction because you don’t want to think or feel too much so at least work is always there.
I’m so used to the concept of productivity that the waiting work feels useless.
But it’s not.
It’s getting me to what I didn’t even know I was waiting for.