It seems human life is not lived without automatic wait. Standing in line, stopping at a crosswalk, storing things away- just in case. Expectations. No one has expectations and waits better than a small child. When a little one waits for the things she or he most desires, the dynamics of learning and personal growth are simply astounding. The sheer anticipation of a parent’s fulfilled promise is enough to make a small child explode. Thank GOD for gravity.
Recently at an outdoor mall, I saw a preschooler who was the embodiment of expectant waiting. Perhaps earlier that day his mom promised, “If you will be good, I will…” and the waiting started. His excitement made him noticeable. He walked up to the ticket booth with his mother, yards away from the center of the mall where a quiet, full-sized merry-go-round with its frozen figures paused, waiting. He had his eyes glued to the fanciful amusement, with its flashy bright stallions and elongated ostriches. I watched as his mother stopped to purchase tickets, reached into her purse, let go of his hand and his tiny body seemed to drift, ever so enthusiastically toward the ride. Like a magnet, the majestic still animals drew him through his vision which was fixed on the twirling machine. He leaped into the air, gleefully skipping his way to the wrought iron gate surrounding the attraction. “Hurry Mommy!”
Remember? I can remember the great expectations of childhood; some met, some not so much. Waiting for the mixing spoon from Grandma’s cake batters. Long waits for summer breaks, high school graduation; for first love, and for the coveted Learner’s Permit. Then there were the lean days of waiting for a meal, my bathroom turn and the wait for my sisters’ hand-me-downs.
Adulthood is not without its own anticipation, both positive and negative. Waiting.
I believe preschool exuberance mutates into waiting for success and parenthood. You know the call, “We would like to offer you the position of…” and of course, Little League games- “It’s in the air! It’s going, going, gone!” We wait a lot, do we not? We wait for lab results, pay raises, acknowledgement and outcomes. We share the simple fact that we have all waited for someone or something.
I have held the position of ‘wait’ more often than I can track. I have waited for the good and the bad; All the while learning lessons I had no idea I would someday need. Waiting most always teaches us something more about our expectations. My expectations? Some met, some not so much.
Time passes while we wait. Some people skillfully fill time waiting with tangible purpose while others seem to flitter the time away. All kinds of individuals wait for all kinds of reasons. There seems to be no end to those who grow frustrated over having to wait at all. Those to whom I always want to say, “Pause” “Hold your fire!”
Yet somewhere in the lapses and lulls of waiting spaces personal growth does occur and somehow, miraculously lessons are actually learned. I have spent years standing in lines, ions at stop signs and an abundance of energy filling storage bins for the just in case. In every instance there was something I needed to learn about myself and about the One Who has called me to wait. (Psalm 27:14) Through differing intervals and seasons of waiting I have learned to manage a range of emotions from patient calm to obnoxious explosive. I have also learned the dynamics of waiting supersede all that we can imagine. I find even still, no matter what there is always a purpose in the wait. Embrace it. Through every period of lag, one lesson remains: It is not about the waiting but about the one who maintains.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, what does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Romans 8:18-25