Waiting is a pain in the butt. I don’t care who you are, waiting is irritating, frustrating, disappointing (at times), and ulcer-inducing. Waiting is the hateful bully who comes by every day to give you a good wallop and then chuckle as it walks away. Waiting is the annoying sound of water dripping somewhere in the house when you’re trying to sleep, but you’ve already checked every faucet. In short, no one enjoys waiting.
See, there’s anticipation, which is fun, but as Lewis Black has stated, “Anticipation is the best part of any activity.” His pragmatic take then goes on to reference that no matter how good something is, the anticipation had built up the event so much that only disappointment could result. I don’t agree… but I don’t disagree either. (Also, I cannot recommend his comedy… just enjoy his role in Inside Out as Anger.)
There are three waits that I can remember clearly in my life. These three waits seemed long, but ultimately seemed worth it. Well, I’m still in the middle of one, but that just means I’m that much more qualified, right? Is that how it works?
Christmas, as a child. Do I need to write more? They’ve scientifically shown that waiting for Christmas at a young age is the equivalent of waiting a year later in life due to time perception differences. I remember Christmas Eve feeling like a year or two in itself. School was out, so there was nothing during the day to take my mind off of the events of the next morning. After the evening service and then an evening at my grandfather’s, the waiting would begin in earnest. My stomach would be tied up in knots, my mind racing with what might be waiting for me when I awoke. I would lie awake for what felt like weeks, just wanting the sweet release of sleep. Christmas Eve doesn’t seem to last so long anymore, and in fact, this last year, due to changes in circumstances, my evening was completely free. The night went by so quickly I hardly had time to blink before it was gone.
My wedding day. Yeah, yeah, rib me all you want, but you try standing peacefully while your grandfather-in-law stands beside you and tells you all kinds of stories of weddings going horribly wrong. That morning seemed to drag on despite the getting dressed, pictures, and other rituals surrounding the wedding itself. The moment when my wife-to-be would walk into the room seemed like an eternity away. I kept looking at my watch willing it to go faster to give me some relief. Eventually, though, the moment came and my wife entered the room, resplendent as the dawn. (Followed by almost six years of marriage, which has flown by.)
Waiting for my baby to get here. I mean, sure, “Little Bit” is just a few inches away, tucked inside my wife’s tummy. But still, it’s hard to wait until I can hold my kid in my arms for the first time. (Yes, I’m being coy with the gender here. We just found out and my wife hasn’t given me the go-ahead to announce it to the world.) I also know some friends who are waiting for kids of their own, too. Their wait is different, and maybe even tougher. They are on waiting lists, receiving news at a snail’s pace as the days seem to drag on. While I have an approximate date to hang onto, they are drifting out on a sea of waiting.
And I wonder about God waiting, too. We know that “God is patient, wanting everyone to come to repentance.” I have to wonder how deep His patience is for that happening. I wonder what knots God’s stomach turned sending Jesus to earth and then waiting for that moment of resurrection. I wonder how often God checks His watch waiting for His own bride to enter the room, dressed in spotless white. I wonder how God feels waiting on His children to be reborn, remade into the image of Jesus.
What’s the longest you’ve ever had to wait? How do you tell that story? Where do you see touches of God’s presence in the waiting? How do you use waiting with your kids to help them experience patience?