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 across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
- Dr. Seuss , excerpt from “Oh The Places You’ll Go”
I imagine he had a NYC subway station in mind when he described this. This week I found myself waiting and waiting. What’s strange is that rather than giving myself a cardiac arrest from stress, I simply took in the lessons for all God’s Glory.
The C Train
“Ladies and gentleman we are being held here. There’s a broken down train in front of us. We are working to resolve the issue and will move as soon as we can.”
Words that strike fear into the hearts of any frequent traveler on public transportation. Here I was trapped below the street with a train car full of strangers and my heart fighting down the impending claustrophobia. Nothing I could do but wait.
How much of life is like that? We are in a seemingly impossible situation and can only trust that the powers at be are working even when we can’t see it or feel it. We must simply hunker down and make the best of the time we are in that space. A child next to me was completely unphased by the delay and took the time to watch Curious George on an electronic tablet. He’d accepted what we all need to know – when there’s nothing you can do but wait, you might as well wait with some joy. The powers beyond my control were working on my behalf and I just had to trust that when it was time, we’d move, and it would all work itself out.
I joined him in watching Curious George.
Tip, tap, Tip tip tip, Tap.
I bounced from one foot to the other, sniffling and checking my phone every 30 seconds for an update. Tip, tap, Tip, tip, tap. Where the hell was she?
Although I am always late, I have no patience when someone else is late. God isn’t done with me yet I suppose. Here I was rushing her to be ready when I was ready. Inside there was a great party happening and I was out here missing it waiting on someone who should have been here 30 minutes ago.
Our innate selfish human nature tells us that when we are ready, every one else should be as well. But no amount of my begging, pleading, rushing, or chastising was going to make her get ready or arrive any faster. Whether or not I agreed, everyone has to get ready in their own time. We frustrate ourselves and those we love by rushing their development. I find myself frustrated by others sometimes when I feel they should or could be at a better place emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc. Instead I must learn that we each get ready in our own way, in our own time. All I can do is get myself ready and enjoy life until they get there. Chances are someone further along than me is also waiting and praying for me to get there one day too.
My friend walked in with a big smile and nothing else mattered except that she had finally arrived. My drink was still smooth, the party was still going, and now we were both ready to enjoy it.
I forgot to eat, again. Hunger pains attacked my stomach like a small army of fire ants. Thank God for online ordering. A new place was only a few blocks away so I figured I’d walk and save myself a few dollars.
Why must it be so cold? My hood blew off my head, wind rushed over my ears as I fumbled through my pocket for my phone. Hello?
“Ma’am I’m sorry but your order has been cancelled. We are sending you a coupon for your trouble and refund.”
Mumbles and a click. I hope I said thank you at least. It’s not like it was her fault. My meal was cancelled as I stood three blocks from my home freezing and hungry. On today of all days. Sure there were other options but I wanted that food today, right now, and in this moment.
Ten more seconds of pouting did not perform a miracle. We decide what we want, we get all set to receive it, and life pulls a fast one on us. It was time to wait again.
My apartment was warm and inviting when I finally returned with something. Pouting clouds the mind so it took a while. With my mouth full and my ears freezing, I allowed the warm words of the Lord to fill my heart and ease some of my pouting.
Although what I wanted didn’t come when I wanted it, that didn’t mean it was never going to happen. I’d order the same item a little later in the week with my coupon. A delay is not a denial.
And sometimes even a delay is for our benefit and brings just a little extra blessing our way….
Occasionally, like the character in Dr. Seuss’ book, we are in such a rush to get somewhere (anywhere) that we end up in the wrong place instead of the best place God has for us. So we are forced to hurry up and wait. To relax our minds, let go of our desires, and just listen to his guidance. There are always things you can learn in the waiting room that you couldn’t learn rushing down the winding path of life. Take it as a blessing and breathe. Wait with joy. Exercise patience with people. Develop. And understand there is purpose in every delay.